Environmental management

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About the Minerals Council of Australia

The MCA is the leading advocate for Australia's world class minerals industry, promoting and enhancing sustainability, profitability and competitiveness. The MCA represents a world-leading minerals sector that is dynamic, diverse, sustainable and valued by all Australians. Read more.

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The MCA acknowledges and pays its respects to past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and linked publications may contain images or names of people who have since died.

Australia’s minerals industry understands good environmental stewardship is fundamental to responsible business practice.

Industry works across the mining lifecycle to reduce environmental impact and ensure healthy air, land and water in areas in which we operate.  Environmental practices and outcomes are highly regulated by local, state and Commonwealth agencies.

While mined land represents a small percentage of Australia’s land mass, land managed by the minerals industry can also make a valuable contribution to biodiversity conservation or support landscape connectivity.

Our industry works with Traditional Owners, environmental and community groups and other partners to integrate traditional ecological and local knowledge.

Biodiversity offsets

The minerals industry applies the globally recognised ‘avoid-minimise-mitigate’ hierarchy to minimise land disturbance and native vegetation clearing.   

Where disturbances cannot be avoided, the industry is usually required to secure biodiversity offsets to compensate or address the impact on biodiversity.  This usually involves securing the disturbed habitat for permanent conservation in another location.  This scientific process is subject to state and, in some cases, Commonwealth regulatory oversight. 

Collaborative approaches such as the Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust are enabling greater participation by Traditional Owner, community and environmental groups in biodiversity offset schemes.  

Responsible water use

Water use by industry is comprehensively regulated and represents a comparatively small share of national water consumption.  The MCA’s comprehensive water policy outlines the industry’s approach to water stewardship. 

Mine rehabilitation and closure

Australian mining companies understand land rehabilitation is fundamental to responsible mining. The Australian minerals industry recognises its responsibility as a temporary custodian of land to contribute to sustainable land use outcomes.

Mining rehabilitation is critical to ongoing community acceptance and a key indicator for corporate reporting. Planning for rehabilitation takes place long before mining commences, and rehabilitation is undertaken progressively during the life of a mine wherever practical.

The industry’s approach to land rehabilitation has improved significantly over past decades – an evolution driven by sustained investment in land rehabilitation techniques, evolving corporate values, community expectations and government regulation.

While much progress has been made, the industry is continuing its efforts to improve rehabilitation methods to ensure mining’s compatibility with current and future land uses. Mine rehabilitation is highly regulated and, as a condition of approval, companies are required to progressive rehabilitate mine land, where practical. Many positive agricultural, environmental and other outcomes are being achieved within Australia on rehabilitated land.