The role of mining companies in the long-term rehabilitation of open cut land came under discussion at a meeting between Singleton and Cessnock councils and Mining NSW yesterday.
Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore, Cr Danny Thompson and Singleton Council General Manager Jason Linnane joined their Cessnock City Council counterparts, Mayor of Cessnock, Cr Bob Pynsent, Cr Melanie Dagg and General Manager Stephen Glenn at the meeting with NSW Mining CEO Stephen Galilee and Policy Director Claire Doherty in Sydney.
They called for industry support for a fund to facilitate the best use of post-production open cut mined land and the need for research into the economic potential and environmental impacts, particularly of final voids.
Cr Thompson said the solution could be that money paid by open cut mining companies to mine subsidence be redirected to the rehabilitation of open cut mining land.
“The NSW Government is changing the funding requirements for the Mine Subsidence Board to relieve open cut mining of subsidising the surface damage caused by underground mining,” he said.
“It’s our view that the monies that will potentially be returned to open cut mining companies be redirected to a fund to support and oversee the ‘best practice’ use of mining land post production.
“This is a unique opportunity for NSW to look at the best possible use of these post mining landforms, at no additional costs to producers.”
Cr Moore said yesterday’s meeting followed similar discussions with NSW Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts on 24 October 2017.
“This is an important conversation that needs to be had and I appreciate both Minister Roberts and Mining NSW opening their doors to us, and for their support generally for the idea,” she said.
“But what I most hope for is that all stakeholders, including the Government and the mining industry, take action on this issue sooner rather than later.
“In the Hunter Valley, post-production mining land may result in numerous final voids that are several hundred metres deep and may take up to a thousand years to fill. There will be thousands of hectares of land that could play very important social, economic, environmental and cultural roles for the future.
“If a fund is established with sufficient resources, the economic and cultural potential of post mining land could become an asset for the people not only of Singleton and Cessnock, but NSW.”