Magazine article Geographical

Rehabilitating Mining's Toxic Legacy

Magazine article Geographical

Rehabilitating Mining's Toxic Legacy

Article excerpt

Following the global financial crisis. Australia was the only Western economy not to go into recession. Why? In a word, mining. But what happens once all the valuable content has been dug out? In Australia, there are currently more than 50,000 abandoned mines. When a mine closes now, it's required to be safe, stable, non-polluting and have sustainable land uses, but because past regulation was much weaker and community expectations lower, many abandoned mines don't meet today's standards and some of them represent a significant threat from contamination or pose other safety risks.

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Because many of the abandoned mines are largely historic, they have no clear ownership. About 12,000 out of 15,000 abandoned mines in Queensland are located on private land and consequently aren't considered to be the government's responsibility.

But it doesn't have to be this way. In Canada, the National Orphaned and Abandoned Mine Initiative provides support across federal and provincial jurisdictions through an advisory panel of industry, government and the community. …

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