COAG Energy Council agrees to examine mine clean-up rules
The McGowan Government’s proposal to examine better rules to ensure energy and mineral companies deliver on their rehabilitation and decommissioning obligations was endorsed today by the Council of Australian Government Energy Council.
The Council consists of petroleum, energy and mining ministers from all States and Territories, and the Australian Government.
Ministers noted the issues Western Australia highlighted, within the Corporations Act and the Australian Accounting Board Standards, regarding mine site rehabilitation and financial obligations.
They agreed the Resources and Engagement Working Group should investigate a nationally consistent approach to these issues and would report back to ministers by mid-2018.
The endorsement follows the Ellendale diamond mine incident, where the liquidator used a provision of the Corporations Act to renege on its environmental and financial responsibilities.
WA’s Mining Rehabilitation Fund is used to pay for outstanding rehabilitation.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said Western Australia already has stringent laws to ensure mining and petroleum companies plan, budget for, and deliver on rehabilitation and decommissioning obligations.
“But we want mining companies to improve their accounting standards and be more transparent when disclosing their environmental liabilities,” he said.
“The Council’s adoption of our proposals is an important step in ensuring companies remain liable for the rehabilitation of resources projects after they close. We don’t want irresponsible mining companies offloading their clean-up costs onto the Mining Rehabilitation Fund, because this means responsible companies will be subsiding irresponsible companies. That’s not fair, which is why we’re calling on the Commonwealth to ensure action is taken quickly.”