Old mine sites bound by $1bn bonds

THE NSW government holds more than $1billion in mining company security bonds to cover repair and remediation of old mine sites.

Resources Minister Chris Hartcher’s office confirmed the figure after Newcastle Herald articles on the long-term impacts of voids left by open-cut coalmines.

A spokeswoman for Mr Hartcher said all planning approvals required mines to be rehabilitated when closing.

Mining leases are terminated and the security bond is returned once rehabilitation is ‘‘completed to the satisfaction of the government’’, the spokeswoman said.

‘‘If the former titleholder no longer exists and the government cannot find a responsible party, the former mine may be declared a derelict mine and any necessary remediation will be undertaken by the government’s Derelict Mines Program,’’ she said.

The amount for each mine was based on rehabilitation.

The spokeswoman said bond amounts were regularly reviewed to ensure liabilities were suitably secured.

Resources Minister Chris Hartcher. Picture: Louise Kennerley

Resources Minister Chris Hartcher. Picture: Louise Kennerley