Rehabilitating mines

Overview

Objectives

To determine whether the state is effectively managing its exposure to liabilities from the rehabilitation of mines on private and public land.

Issues

The purpose of mine rehabilitation under the state's legislation is to establish a landform that is safe and stable to protect people, land, infrastructure and the environment. Rehabilitating mines can be a long and expensive process, so the site owner must provide a rehabilitation bond to the state as financial security before work commences, to ensure the mine can be rehabilitated should the operator be unable to meet its obligations.

Limited or poor-quality rehabilitation of historical mine sites has resulted in significant environmental issues across large areas of Victoria which remain contaminated or unusable.

The report on the inquiry into the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire identified several issues in the Latrobe Valley, including limited or slow rehabilitation of mines, poor rehabilitation plans, insufficient rehabilitation bonds and a regulatory system that lacked transparency and clarity. The Victorian Government committed to implementing recommendations to address these issues.

This audit will examine how effectively Earth Resources Regulation within Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions is regulating the rehabilitation of mines and managing the state's exposure to liabilities associated with rehabilitation within the context of the state's policy and legislative framework.

Proposed agencies

Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Environmental Protection Authority Victoria, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and the Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner.

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