Queensland’s state government passed a new law to hold mining companies financially accountable for failed mines in an effort to prevent local taxpayers from having to foot the bill.
Queensland’s state government passed a new law on Wednesday (November 14) to hold mining companies financially accountable for failed mines, preventing local taxpayers from having to foot the bill.
Through the Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill, mining companies will have to enter a financial scheme to prove funding is available for rehabilitation costs in the event that they can’t meet obligations with relation to the mine. Additionally, the bill tacks on new requirements for planning and delivering rehabilitation to mined land.
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad commented on the bill’s passing, highlighting it as a happy medium between both the resource sector and the local environment and community.
“These ground-breaking reforms strike the right balance between a strong and thriving resource sector and world class environmental standards around rehabilitation,” Trad said in a statement.
“The resource sector is a great contributor to the Queensland economy, providing jobs for many Queenslanders, however we have an obligation to ensure their activity is sustainable and benefits Queenslanders in the long term. The new laws will compel mining companies to progressively rehabilitate mined land so we don’t leave a legacy of abandoned mines for future generations.”
According to Trad, the newly passed laws come after 2 years of consultation and several stakeholder meetings in the last week. The reforms will be staged, as the financial part will begin in the first half of next year and the new rehabilitation process starting later on in 2019.
Also commenting on the new bill was Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane, who highlighted it as a success for local taxpayers and environmentalists alike.
“The new scheme means taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill in the unlikely scenario where a company fails to meet its rehabilitation commitments. Resources companies will all contribute to the fund, and over time it will increase the amount available for rehabilitation commitments by about $2 billion,” he said in a statement.
“This fund helps give peace of mind to taxpayers, but it’s more likely it won’t be required, given the world-leading rehabilitation standards of the Queensland resources industry.”
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.