Environmental Conservation, Mine Rehabilitation and Land Restoration Policies and Best Practices in Australia
Australia has indeed made commendable strides in adopting sustainable mining practices, making it a notable success story in this regard. The emphasis on comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) before commencing mining activities is a crucial aspect of responsible mining. Such assessments ensure that potential environmental impacts are thoroughly assessed and effective mitigation measures are established.
Closer home, Bamburi Cement is doing a commendable job in terms of aligning mining goals with environmental conservation goals. The transformation of the mine site into a national park serves as a tangible example of achieving environmental rehabilitation and aligning mining activities with conservation goals.
All in all, Australia's efforts in implementing best practices throughout the mining lifecycle, from pre-mining assessments to rehabilitation and closure planning, serve as a model for responsible mining that aims to minimize environmental impact and ensure the sustainable use of natural resources.
In comparison to back in time, mine rehabilitation and closure (MR&C) has come a long way towards ensuring that processes are in place to minimize environmental risks. Mine rehabilitation in Australia initially was all about establishing some form of vegetation cover and post mine land use has come to include the restoration of pre existing ecosystems as well as social elements. The traditional lands of indigenous people in Australia are often abundant in mineral resources and have been subjected to mineral exploration and extraction since early European settlements.With the increased focus on land and economic rights for Indigenous communities, there has been significant discussion about the role of mining in facilitating the increased social and economic well-being of Indigenous people who live in the remote, mineral rich areas. Considering Indigenous peoples always have ‘more to lose and significantly less to gain’ from the erosion of their natural capital ensuring the ongoing social, economic and environmental well-being of such communities should be the priority of MR&C regulation. Courtesy of MR &C improved practices have also stemmed from mine sites becoming a major environmental risk after closure with a focus on the engagement, participation and decision-making power and control of local communities as well as on land rights and agreement made between local communities and mine operators.