Rehabilitating land following mining is a major and growing issue for Western Australia, with around 2.5 million hectares of land currently under an active mining lease. About 85% of mining proposals assessed by the Western Australia Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) have had rehabilitation and/or closure requirements recommended and subsequently applied by the Minister for Environment through a Ministerial Statement. This is in addition to the conditions for rehabilitation and/or closure specified under the Mining Act 1978.
This project collected and analysed publicly available information on the conditions for mine site rehabilitation in Western Australia. Information was collated about mine rehabilitation and/or closure conditions recommended by the EPA under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1986, to provide baseline information of the requirements for rehabilitation in the state. A total of 277 Ministerial Statements were assessed, dating back to 1987. Until the 1990s, requirements related to rehabilitation have primarily been assigned to the decommissioning phase, with progressive rehabilitation requirements starting to appear from 1992 onwards. Despite the importance for assessing completion, about 35% of the Statements specified rehabilitation targets to be met. These rehabilitation targets focussed most often on the percentage of vegetation cover and species diversity.