Queensland to commit $42m to boost abandoned mine sites safety


Mining

The Queensland Government is to commit $42m in the 2016-17 state budget to manage public safety risks that are related to abandoned mine sites across the region.

With the increased investment, the programme will be able to make improvements to public safety, including for treating water impounded in mine sites, and filling abandoned shafts.

Some 3,500 of around 15,000 identified abandoned mine sites across Queensland are on state-owned land and most are very small.

However, significant mineral processing and smelting was carried out where there are around several hundred medium to large sites.

Natural resources and mines minister Dr Anthony Lynham said that the increased funding over five years would be a boost to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines programme that works on abandoned mine sites across Queensland.

Lynham said: "The programme has been managing a range of public safety risks from mine sites abandoned with an annual budget of $6m."

The former Mount Morgan gold mine is 32km south-west of Rockhampton in Central Queensland and is the largest abandoned mine site.

The abandoned mine lands programme will manage impacts from major abandoned mine sites, including Mount Morgan and deliver mine shaft repair programmes in the gold mining towns of Charters Towers and Gympie.

"The programme has been managing a range of public safety risks from mine sites abandoned with an annual budget of $6m."

Managing responses relating to subsidence issues at Collingwood Park and undertaking assessment and close-out of public safety risks at smaller mine sites across Queensland also form part of the programme.

The programme will also provide an emergency first response with specialised technical expertise for newly reported issues on abandoned mine sites, which may include mine shaft collapses and mine subsidences.

State Parliament passed the Environmental Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Bill in April to give powers to the environmental regulator, EHP to pursue companies, entities and individuals who could not uphold their environmental responsibilities.

Environment minister Dr Steven Miles said: "Between these new funds and the recently passed new environmental protection laws the Palaszczuk government has a comprehensive plan to manage existing abandoned mines and avoid the number of abandoned mines increasing."


Image: Approximately 3,500 of more than 15,000 identified abandoned mine sites across Queensland are on state-owned land. Photo: courtesy of duron123/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.