The Legacy Mines Program (LMP) is a NSW Government initiative assisting the rehabilitation or remediation of legacy mine sites where no owner can be held responsible for the works. Unrehabilitated legacy mines have the potential to cause immediate safety and environmental impacts.

The program prioritises the legacy mine sites it rehabilitates and remediates using a risk assessment process that considers a variety of matters including public safety, environmental risks posed by the mine and cost effectiveness of proposed works.

Program Goals

The Legacy Mines Program’s primary goals are to:

  • reduce or eliminate risks to public health, safety and the environment
  • stabilise and prevent further degradation of legacy mine sites
  • remove or contain contamination or sources of nuisance and prevent them from spreading.

Its secondary goals are to:

  • optimise beneficial reuse of legacy mine sites
  • encourage native plant and animal life
  • conserve items of significant heritage value
  • improve visual amenity.

The range of remediation works funded by the program include:

  • detailed site assessments and preparation of remediation action plans
  • engineering design work
  • physical safety works (for example, fencing, grating or filling shafts)
  • erosion and sediment control works
  • management of acid mine drainage and contamination
  • stabilisation and revegetation of sites
  • continued monitoring and review of sites.

LMP Steering Committee Members visiting works in progress at the Urunga Antimony Processing site.

Prioritisation of works

The Legacy Mines Program prioritises the rehabilitation or remediation of legacy mine sites based on a variety of factors including the:

  • public safety risk
  • environmental risk
  • end use of the land
  • cost effectiveness of rehabilitation or remediation works.

Projects delivering long term benefit to the broader community are typically prioritised over short term remediation works.

Works primarily focus on remediating impacts on public land. Projects on private land are usually not funded unless there is also a clear public benefit. Landowners with legacy mines on their land are responsible for any remediation and managing risks.

Our program works are undertaken in consultation with the community, industry and other government agencies.

Read the Legacy Mines Funding Priority Guidelines.

Current regulation

Current mine operators are responsible for mine rehabilitation under modern regulation.

All current operating mines must lodge a security deposit for the full cost of rehabilitation at the commencement of operations. That security deposit is used to cover remediation costs should the mine become insolvent.

Currently around $2.3 billion is held in security deposits for mine site remediation and rehabilitation.

Contact the program

Contact us at: legacy.mines@planning.nsw.gov.au.