Millions in bonds returned on dead tenements

Unconditional performance bonds returned once dead tenements are fully rehabilitated.
Date: Wednesday, 01 October 2014

The implementation of the MRF has led to more than $6 million returning to tenement holders who’ve rehabilitated their dead mining tenements. 

More than $6 million in unconditional performance bonds associated with dead tenements is currently being retired to mining companies and individuals following the implementation of the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF).

Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) Director General, Richard Sellers, explained that bonds on dead tenements are able to be retired once all land disturbance from exploration or mining activities on the tenement has been fully rehabilitated.

“Dead tenements cannot enter the MRF so any bonds associated with these tenements can only be retired once the department is satisfied that all land disturbance has been rehabilitated,” Mr Sellers said.

“Dead” tenements are those on which the former holder no longer has exploration or mining rights over the area of land, either due to the time period expiring or because the tenement has been surrendered or forfeited.

“Almost $11 million in unconditional performance bonds were being held for nearly 400 dead tenements at the beginning of 2014,” Mr Sellers sad.

“The department’s MRF team has been investigating these tenements and liaising with the former tenement holders.

“Where we are satisfied that all disturbance has been fully rehabilitated of absorbed into another operation, the bonds have been returned.

“A number of operators have indicated that they will now complete the rehabilitation work required on their tenements to enable the retiring of their bonds.”

Mr Sellers also said those who don’t comply with the requirements of their unconditional performance bonds will eventually have their bonds called in.

Under the MRF, tenement holders operating on Mining Act 1978 tenure contribute to a pooled fund levied according to the environmental disturbance on the tenement at the annual assessment date. All reports must be completed by 30 June each year.

The fund will be used for rehabilitation where the operator fails to meet rehabilitation obligations, and interest generated on the fund will be used to rehabilitate legacy abandoned mines.

As annual contributions to the fund are based on the amount and type of ground disturbance, the MRF also acts as an incentive for progressive rehabilitation.

The ground disturbance data collected for the 2013-14 period under the MRF is now publicly available on the DMP website at www.dmp.wa.gov.au/MRF.