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Rehabilitating abandoned mines could create thousands of ‘badly needed’ jobs, report says

The ABC’s Mark Willacy reports (23.10.16) on research by the Lock the Gate Alliance which indicates that many thousands of abandoned mine sites across the nation, including some 15,000 sites in Queensland, are in need of urgent rehabilitation to prevent surrounding environmental degradation. The group argues that enforced remediation programs could provide ‘badly needed’ jobs in regional areas if mining companies were made to undertake mine site rehabilitation.

‘The rehabilitation of abandoned mines could create thousands of jobs in areas hit hard by the resources downturn, according to a new report.

‘Queensland alone has more than 15,000 abandoned mines, including 300 classified as mega, large or medium size. A report on these mines by the environmental group Lock the Gate Alliance is recommending the introduction of an independent authority to rehabilitate the sites.

‘It proposes funding the remediation with a “modest industry levy” or from the interest on a new cash bond deposit system. The report said the extra money could help fund a comprehensive mine rehabilitation program in areas where the resources boom has ended.

‘”There’s several thousand jobs that can be created in rural and regional Queensland, particularly in mining precincts that are badly needed now after the downturn,” Lock the Gate’s Rick Humphries said. “So it will be an employment generator and an economic activity generator.”

‘But Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said many old mines still contain valuable resources waiting to be exploited.’

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