Inquiry launched to explore new uses for NSW mining sites after closure

An inquiry into repurposing mine sites will be undertaken in NSW, with the goal of keeping the sites contributing to the economy and job market in regional areas after mining stops.

Open cut mine nsw

In response to the upcoming closure of several major mining sites in New South Wales (NSW) over the next decade, the NSW Parliament will hold an inquiry to explore new ways to use the land afterward.

Announced today by Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos, the inquiry aims to address the transition of these sites, recognizing mining as a temporary land use.

Minister Houssos stressed the importance of maximizing employment and economic opportunities after mines close, saying, "We need to make sure NSW has the right policies to keep employment and economic opportunities even after mines close."

The inquiry, to be conducted by the NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on State Development, will look into different ways to use land after mining. These include developing sites for manufacturing, business, and tourism, as well as exploring opportunities in clean energy industries like solar farms and pumped hydro.

There are more than 50 large active mine sites across NSW, 37 of which are coal mines. There are other sites which were previously used for mining which continue to offer opportunities for new, productive uses of land.

Recent examples such as the Rhondda Colliery rehabilitation project in Lake Macquarie, which will turn part of the site into the Black Rock Motor Park and Tourism Resort, show the potential for repurposing former mining areas.

Chair of the Standing Committee on State Development, Emily Suvaal, recognised the importance of this inquiry for mining communities statewide, stressing the need for a vibrant economic future with secure local jobs. "Exploring how we can improve the use of post-mining land is crucial for the continued success of our rural and regional communities," said Suvaal.

In addition to exploring economic opportunities, the inquiry will also address regulatory frameworks related to rehabilitation and planning, aiming to simplify processes that support the transition of mining sites into productive assets.

Investments in skills training and support for the mining workforce will be important in facilitating a smooth transition to new industries and employment opportunities.

“We will work with industry, local government and unions to bring forward these exciting opportunities," said Minister Houssos.

“We need to make sure these large mine sites can continue to be put to economically productive and efficient use long into the future.”

Download the full terms of reference for the Inquiry into Beneficial and Productive Post Mining Land Use here.

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