"Defeats the goal": new restoration laws allow loopholes for existing mines, lawyers say
Queensland resource companies will be required to contribute financially to the rehabilitation of abandoned mines in Queensland, according to new legislation passed in the state parliament.
Instead of accessing the site, companies will be forced to donate a sum into a pool of money to rebuild future abandoned sites if the owner is going to break through.
Therefore if a new mine fails, the funds will be used to cover the cost of rebuilding the site, removing taxpayer liability.
Future high-risk projects should provide a guarantee to the government to cover the costs of their reconstruction.
The $ 1 billion interest rate will serve as a modest contribution to the overall cost of rehabilitating existing abandoned mines and research and development.
It will take up to a decade for the interest to accumulate before it can be used for existing mines.
The bill for restoration of the current site in Queensland is estimated to run into billions of dollars, with the state responsible for keeping 120 abandoned or legacy mines.
The laws will require new mines to pay for areas such as spaces and waste pools to be rehabilitated, but existing mines will not meet the same requirements.
All mining companies will now require progressive plans to close and rehabilitate all projects.
The laws require new mines to pay for spaces and waste pools to be rehabilitated. (Provided: Lock the gate)
Deputy Prime Minister Key Trad described the new laws as "breaking the ground."
"These reforms hit the right balance for the environment and resources resources, while ensuring resource companies, not Queensland taxpayers, foot the bill for the rehabilitation of failed mines or stranded properties," said Ms. Trad.
"The reforms promise that my rehabilitation will indeed happen in Queensland and we do not leave a legacy of abandoned mines for future generations, or mines that have been under maintenance for decades.
Ms. Trad said that the government will not change the approvals granted to companies within previous policy frameworks.
This includes existing mines with "unused management zones", which can include waste pit and rock debris which are not required to be rehabilitated.
But in the future, areas of management that are not approved will be approved only in very limited circumstances, where it is found that the public interest, according to independent evaluation.
Lock the Campaign Gateway Rick Humphries said as a result, communities will remain with "coal pits not filling huge and contaminated water after mining."
"The mining industry is already planning to leave 218 unpaved coal cisterns, many of which will permanently drain groundwater and leave deep and deep scars on the landscape," he said.
"We pushed the government to incorporate similar laws that have existed in the United States since the 1970s, which require all ignorance to be refilled."
The crisis speaks to avoid retrospective elements
Queensland Resources Council head (QRC) Ian McParlane said that the industry had consoled the fact that legislation was not going to be retrospective.
"These mines operating under the current environmental permits have had no retrospective conditions applicable to them," he said.
The daily negotiations between the council and the government over some proposed amendments were passed last week by former Labor Secretary Stephen Robertson.
"It was only a case of certainty that the legislation reflects this [no retrospective conditions] … and getting the result, "McFarlane said.
Lock the gate accused the government of being "strong armed" by the mining lobby, but the government adheres to the laws were not to be retrospective.
Mr. McFarlane said that all the company's contribution to the fund will be publicized.
"The amount the company pays is calculated based on their credit risk and their credit ratings and the size of the reconstruction proposal," McParlane said.
"The industry will stay out of WoW.
Michael Berkman, a member of Jerusalem's parliament, said the laws were supposed to be applied retroactively.
"What a government proposal would allow any of my existing one in Queensland to hook effectively," Berkman said.
"Does not require any more than 200 final voids across the country to be handled by the industry.
"Estimates in this industry are about $ 20 billion worth of work, which means that Queenslanders are going to stay foot on the bill for any job and the industry will release the hook."
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