Gold mining companies are now facing a barrage of criticism from environmental groups, as the federal government looks to boost its domestic mining sector.
Key points:In a sign of how bad the environmental record has been for gold mining companies in recent years, the National mining industry is facing criticism from a number of groupsThe Australian Bureau of Mining and Energy (ABM) has set up a taskforce to assess the environmental impact of the mining industryThe government has been pushing for an increase in domestic mining to deal with the global demandFor more than a decade, mining companies have been using taxpayer funds to mine coal, gas and uranium in Australia, and are using taxpayer money to mine gold, copper and uranium as well.
Now the Federal Government is hoping to boost domestic mining.
Its new National Mining and Economic Research Agency is currently undertaking a review of the environmental impacts of mining and the mining industries, as part of the review of environmental assessments in mining projects.
The agency’s chief executive, James Dolan, told The WorldPost in a statement that the government’s review was intended to improve the environmental assessment process for new mining projects, as well as those already in the planning stages.
“We will look at how the mining sector operates and how the environmental review process can be improved to ensure that projects are environmentally sustainable and that their impacts are mitigated,” Mr Dolan said.
He added that the review would be a “thorough and impartial examination of the impacts of new mining in Australia and the environmental implications of those impacts”.
“The ABM is responsible for the environmental management of mines and minerals in Australia.”
In the mining world, environmental groups have criticised the mining company for using taxpayer funding to mine in areas where there was little or no environmental impact.
“It’s a really significant issue for us because it’s not just a case of mining being bad, it’s also a case where the government is getting money from mining companies,” environmental activist and former Labor member of the NSW parliament, Nick Di Natale, told the ABC.
“This is a major problem in the mining and mineral sector.”
Mr Di Natales said it was clear that the mining companies were using government funds to do things that were “not going to benefit the environment” and that the “government should be responsible for what happens to the environment”.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of government money going into mining, and mining companies aren’t using that money to benefit Australia,” he said.
“They’re using it for themselves and their shareholders, so they’re just getting richer.”‘
Unbelievable’ conditionsThe ABI report, which will be completed by late next year, will examine the environmental benefits and environmental costs of mining projects and will look into “the environmental impacts and impacts to human health and safety of mining activities”.
Mr Dolan noted that the report was commissioned by the ABM.
“The mining industry needs to look at the best use of its existing resources to deliver the environmental benefit,” he told The ABC.
Mr Di Nale said the mining process was also the biggest environmental issue in Australia.
“There are huge environmental problems in the industry.
There are massive amounts of waste being produced,” he added.”
If you look at what the environmental issues are, the environment is very serious.”
You need to take this report seriously.”‘
We’re not going to get it right’The environmental group Greenpeace said it had no doubt the review was the result of a “brazen attempt to cover up the fact that there’s been a massive environmental catastrophe” in the area of the Queensland Goldfields.”
These mining companies continue to claim they are trying to protect the environment and the public from harmful and potentially harmful mining activities,” Greenpeace Australia’s campaigner on mining, James O’Brien, told Al Jazeera.”
In reality they’re not getting the results they want.
“A lot of the report has already been done, so it’s quite easy to see where the real problem lies.”
Environmental groups are calling on the federal Government to release the report to the public and say it should include more details about the environmental damage caused by mining.
“What they’re saying is that the ABI needs to release it, that’s just unacceptable,” Greenpeace Queensland’s campaigner, Greg McInnes, told ABC News.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the industry is a problem for the environment.”
But the Government needs to be responsible.
If it can’t get its act together, it needs to get its environmental responsibility back.”‘
Not the right thing to do’The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has been working with the mining department on a national review of mining impacts in the past year.
The EPA said in a media release that the agency had “identified the need for a comprehensive review of all mining projects in the country”.”
This review will provide an overview of all aspects of the development and operation of the project, including environmental and