The Legacy Mines Program (LMP) is a NSW Government initiative that assists landholders by delivering and managing works to reduce risks from legacy mine sites.

LMP focuses on public safety and improving the environment through remediation of historic and abandoned mines. The LMP is administered by Mining, Exploration and Geoscience, part of the Department of Regional NSW.

Program Goals

The primary objectives of the LMP are to:

  • reduce or eliminate risks to public health and safety;
  • reduce any impacts to the environment;
  • stabilise and prevent further degradation of legacy mine sites; and
  • remove or contain contamination at its source and prevent it from spreading.

Secondary objectives of the LMP are to:

  • improve public confidence in the mining industry and its regulation;
  • optimise beneficial reuse of legacy mine sites;
  • encourage native plant and animal life;
  • conserve items of significant heritage value; and
  • 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

Projects are only considered for funding if no person or company with direct responsibility for the rehabilitation of the mine can be located. Projects that cannot demonstrate a clear and significant link to former mining operations cannot be funded by the LMP.

The LMP has no statutory or legislative responsibility to remediate any mine site and only provides funding for projects once all other avenues have been exhausted. The LMP operates on a goodwill basis and assumes no responsibility for the abandoned mine sites once works are complete.

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 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.

Learn more about our risk assessment process.

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.