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The Australian state of Queensland will unveil proposed resource regulations and an "insurance fund" to pay for the remediation of old mines. The aim is for resource companies, not taxpayers, to pay for the rehabilitation of the environment.

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Queensland is one of the largest seaborne exporters of coal in the world, and is also in the world's top five regions for producing zinc, lead, bauxite, and silver.

"I'm confident this legislation strikes the right balance for the environment and the resources sector, while ensuring resource companies, not taxpayers, foot the bill for the rehabilitation of failed mines or stranded assets," Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said in a statement.

"All miners (will) have to pay into what is essentially an insurance fund to ensure that mine rehabilitation ... happens in Queensland and we don't leave a legacy for future generations where there are abandoned mines," Trad told local radio.

The regulations, if enacted, will impact the largest mining companies in the world including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Glencore, which all have operations in Queensland. The new rules would be the most significant reform of the state's rehabilitation framework in nearly two decades, the Queensland government said.

Australia Metalurgical Coal Exports

Queensland's resources sector adds more than A$55-billion to the state's bottom line and contributes over A$4-billion in royalties, according to the Queensland Resources Council.

The amendments to the regulation was first proposed in October 2017, will be introduced into parliament for debate next week. Among amendments the state was considering was allowing some miners to post insurance bonds in place of large cash holdings, which are particularly painful for small to medium size players in the capital intensive industry. The concern has been that the new regulations would effectively favor the large miners with their large cash holdings while causing harm if not the end of the smaller miners unfairly.

Source: ABC

From a Sunburnt Country

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