The Australia Institute last week released a Report into the closure and rehabilitation of mines in Victoria. The Report emphasised the lack of statistics that indicate the efficiency of mine rehabilitation or abandonment. The Institute concluded that as a result of incomplete data, ‘the Australian public risks incurring billions of dollars in rehabilitation costs that could either require taxpayer funding or result in a degraded environment if rehabilitation is not well managed and regulated. This would represent a huge subsidy to the mining industry.’ Bonds paid by mining companies are intended to comprehensively cover the cost associated with the rehabilitation of the relevant mine. The Australia Institute’s Report could not assess, through a lack of government records, the appropriateness of current bonds. However, it did note that an Independent Report to the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry found that rehabilitation bonds were seriously inadequate with Hazelwood’s rehabilitation costs to be between $264 million and $357 million.
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