Rehabilitate Old Mines to Minimize Health Hazards

mine rehabilitation in australia

Target: Greg Hunt, Australia’s Minister for the Environment

Goal: Carry out effective mine restoration projects to protect local communities from toxic chemicals

A preventable coal fire raged for 45 days, covering the surrounding area with toxic coal ash. The coal fire, situated on an old coal mine site, was caused by a lack of upkeep. The fire cost millions to control. Mine rehabilitation should be taken seriously. Environmental quality and human health are both at risk from abandoned mines. Action must be taken now to enforce mine rehabilitation and increase the bond paid by mining companies to cover the exact cost of remediation.

The current law in Victoria, Australia demands that mining companies only pay a 15 million dollar bond for rehabilitation after mining in the area is complete. However, the law dates back to 1990 and prices for mine rehabilitation can far exceed this 15 million dollar price tag. Paying only this low price, mine operators do not fulfill their remediation obligations in a timely manner. Any cost of rehabilitation after 15 million dollars comes out of the pocket of the local government, imposing a huge financial burden on the taxpayers. The bond insurance paid by mining companies should be raised to the exact amount of the rehabilitation cost. The companies responsible for damaging the earth must also be responsible for repairing it.

Ignoring or slacking on the rehabilitation of old mines has grave effects on the environment and human health. Abandoned mines can leak chemicals into groundwater, create ground fires, and expose the air to toxins, leaving the earth obliterated. Rehabilitation can be as simple as covering the mined area with soil or clay for revegetation. However, in Australia, mine rehabilitation is in the hands of the mine operators. The government does not enforce a timeline for mine rehabilitation, which is a huge reason why many mines do not have a sense of urgency to remediate. By signing this petition, you are urging the Australian government to enforce mine rehabilitation as well as increase the bond paid by mine operators for the cost of the rehabilitation.


Dear Minister Hunt,

The Hazelwood Mine Fire blazed for 45 days, covering surrounding communities with toxic coal ash. This fire could have been prevented by effective remediation efforts. To ensure the environment and local communities are safe from abandoned mines, rehabilitation should be strictly enforced.

The mining companies that agree to destroy the earth must also agree to restore it. The 15 million dollar bond paid by mining operators for restoration should be increased. The bond’s price tag dates back to 1990. The cost of restoration could far exceed 15 million dollars, leaving a financial burden on the local government to pay for the rest of the cleanup cost.

The bond amount should be increased to the exact cost of rehabilitation. The rehabilitation timeline should be strictly enforced by the government, instead of leaving the remediation project in the hands of mine operators. I am urging you to please take action to protect the environment and local communities from contamination and pollution from abandoned mines.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Herry Lawford  via Flickr

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