Fogarty, K, Kragt, ME & White, B 2019, 'Pre- and post-mine land-use trends across the New South Wales and Queensland coal industry', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2019: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 937-950, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1915_74_Fogarty
Mining is a temporary land use and there is a need to transition to an acceptable land use after mining ceases. This typically includes grazing or reinstatement of native ecosystems present prior to disturbance (Doley & Audet 2013; Lechner et al. 2016; Maczkowiack et al. 2012). However, no published information exists that informs of the collective plans for the coal mining industry’s proposed post-mining land uses.
This study uses publicly available information on pre-mine and proposed post-mine land uses for coal mines in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. We will discuss what pre-mining land uses are typically identified and how this definition changes post-mining. Terminology used by mining companies to describe their pre- and post-mine land use is also presented. This information will be useful to identify future beneficial land uses as well as support decision-making and policymaking at a landscape level.
Results indicate that agriculture and biodiversity are the most commonly proposed post-mine land uses compared to agriculture being the dominant pre-mining land use. Sites also frequently nominated multiple post-mine land uses, with over 85% of sites nominating between one and three post-mine land uses. Sites tend to increase the number of identified land uses when nominating their post-mine land use compared to the number identified during pre-mining. Results also found limited evidence to suggest that operations are likely to revert to the pre-mining land use, with about half of sites planning to reinstate the pre-mining land use(s), even with additional land uses, after mine closure. Furthermore, it was observed that some mine sites tend not to provide an explicit statement or consider the utility of post-mining land use when detailing the post-mine land use(s).
Keywords: land use change, mine rehabilitation, mining land use terminology
ABC 2018, ‘World’s first “ground-scraper” hotel built in former quarry opens its doors to the public in China’, ABC News, viewed 22 November 2018,
Ahlheim, M, Fror, O, Lehr, U, Wagenhal, G & Wolf, U 2004, Contingent Valuation of Mining Land Reclamation in East Germany – Discussion Paper, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2018, Mine Closure Checklist for Governments, Singapore.
Bastida, E 2002, ‘Integrating sustainability into legal frameworks for mining in some selected Latin American countries’, Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development, vol. 120, pp. 1–33.
Bowie, L & Fulcher, J 2017, ‘Planning for post-mining land uses’, paper presented at the Planning Institute of Australia (Qld) Annual Conference, Bundaberg, 14 September.
Department of Environment and Science 2018a, Rehabilitation Requirements for Mining Resource Activities, ESR/2016/1875, Version 2.01, Brisbane.
Department of Environment and Science 2018b, Environmental Authorities Register, Brisbane, viewed 30 May 2018,
Department of Environment and Science 2018c, Current and Concluded EIS Process Projects, Brisbane, viewed June–August 2018,
Department of Environment and Science & Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy 2018, Library Services, Brisbane, viewed June–August 2018,
Department of the Environment and Energy 2018, EPBC Notices Referral Lists, Canberra, viewed June–August 2018,
Department of Industry 2016, Mine Closure Leading Practice Sustainable Development for the Mining Industry, Australian Government, Canberra.
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science 2019, Resources and Energy Quarterly – March 2019, viewed 2 June 2019,
Department of Natural Resources and Mines 2017, Queensland Coal – Mines and Advanced Projects, Brisbane, viewed June 2018,
Department of Planning and Environment 2017, Improving Mine Rehabilitation in NSW Discussion Paper, Sydney, viewed
Department of Planning and Environment 2018, Major Project Assessment Portal, Sydney, viewed June–August 2018,
Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland Treasury & Department of Environment and Heritage Protection 2017, Better Mine Rehabilitation for Queensland Discussion Paper (#31261), Brisbane, viewed April 2017,
Department of Resources and Geoscience 2013, ESG3 Mining Operations Plan MOP Guidelines, Sydney.
Doley, D & Audet, P 2013, ‘Adopting novel ecosystems as suitable rehabilitation alternatives for former mine sites’, Ecological Processes, vol. 2, pp. 1–11.
Doley, D & Audet, P 2015, ‘Identifying natural and novel ecosystem goals for rehabilitation of postmining landscapes’,
in ME JarvieEggart (ed.), Responsible Mining: Case Studies in Managing Social and Environmental Risks in the Developed World, Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration,Englewood, pp. 609–638.
Doley, D, Audet, P & Mulligan, D 2012, ‘Examining the Australian context for post-mined land rehabilitation: Reconciling a paradigm for the development of natural and novel ecosystems among post-disturbance landscapes’, Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment, vol. 163, pp. 85–93.
Environmental Protection Agency 2018, Protection of the Environment Operations, POEP Public Register, Sydney, viewed 28 May 2018,
Errington, J 2001, ‘Mine reclamation in British Columbia – twenty-five years of progress’, Proceedings of the 25th Annual British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium,
Geoscience Australia 2017, Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources 2017, Symonston, viewed June 2018,
Geoscience Australia 2018, Australian Mines Atlas, Symonston, viewed 28 May 2018,
Harvey, B 2016, ‘The eye of the beholder – utility and beauty in mine closure’, in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 17–24.
Kazmierczak, U, Lorenc, M & Strzalkowski, P 2017, ‘The analysis of the existing terminology related to a post-mining land use: a proposal for new classification’, Environmental Earth Science, vol. 76, pp. 693.
Lechner, A, Kassulke, O & Unger, C 2016, ‘Spatial assessment of open cut coal mining progressive rehabilitation to support the monitoring of rehabilitation liabilities’, Resources Policy, vol. 50, pp. 234–243.
Maczkowiack, R, Smith, C, Slaughter G, Mulligan D & Cameron D 2012, ‘Grazing as a post-mining land use: A conceptual model of the risk factors’, Agricultural Systems, vol. 109, pp. 76–89.
Miao, Z & Marrs, R 2000, ‘Ecological restoration and land reclamation in open-cast mines in Shanxi Province, China’, Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 59, pp. 205–215.
Miller, D 2008, ‘Using aquaculture as a post-mining land use in West Virginia’, Mine Water Environment, vol. 27, pp. 122–126.
Minerals Council of Australia 2017, Submission to Senate Environment and Communications Reference Committee Inquiry into the Rehabilitation of Mining and Resources Projects as it Relates to Commonwealth Responsibilities, viewed August 2018,
New South Wales Government 1992, Mining Act 1992 (NSW)
Pearman, G 2009, 101 Things to Do With a Hole in the Ground, Post Mining Alliance, Bodelva, UK.
Perez-Alvares, R, Torrest-Ortega, S, Diaz-Simal, P, Husillos-Rodriguez, R & De Luis-Ruiz, J 2016, ‘Economic valuation of mining heritage from a recreational approach: application to the case of El Soplao Cave in Spain (Geosite UR004)’, Sustainability, vol. 8, pp. 185.
Queensland Treasury Corporation 2017, Review of Queensland’s Financial Assurance Framework. Final Report: Version for Public Consultation, Brisbane, viewed June 2018,
Soltanmohammadi, H, Osanloo, M & Aghajani Bazzazi, B 2010, ‘An analytical approach with a reliable logic and a ranking policy for post-mining land-use determination’, Land Use Policy, vol. 27, pp. 364–372.
State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning 2018, Coordinated Projects Portal, Brisbane, viewed June–August 2018,
World Energy Council 2015, Energy Resources: Coal, London, viewed August 2018,