The Transformative Impact of Rehabilitation Plans in Mining

Author: Adriana Ferreira

Mining companies will have to consider and address the environmental and social impacts of their operations, which influence mine design, development, and closure. Starting in 2024, they’ll need to focus on additional ESG risk factors they haven’t looked at in as much depth before.

In the past, mining companies often didn’t face accountability for their impact on the environment and communities, especially Indigenous ones. Preventing these potential negative long-term impacts before they occur needs to be a part of every mining company’s strategy and its environmental and social responsibility.

New changes in national legislation will introduce mandatory ESG reporting requirements, covering climate-related financial disclosures, human rights protection, and environmental preservation.

From the social and governance perspectives, human rights are fundamental factors of ESG, and communities are demanding more say in mining projects that affect– and will challenge more projects on these grounds. Implementing rehabilitation plans from the start of mining operations is key to ensuring a smooth and beneficial transition for local communities and ecosystems.

An effective rehabilitation plan involves restoring mined lands to a more natural state or to new uses that benefit the community and the environment. This includes soil management, revegetation with native flora, restoration of habitats for wildlife, and treatment of contaminated waters. Moreover, rehabilitation plans often encompass social projects aimed at economically revitalizing local communities, creating new opportunities in sectors like eco-tourism, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy generation.


Mine Rehabilitation: The Case of Kidston Clean Energy Hub in Australia


The Kidston Clean Energy Hub in Queensland, Australia, exemplifies the transformation of a former gold mine into a renewable energy complex. The Kidston Project was the first pumped hydro energy storage scheme globally to be developed in an abandoned gold mine. The project includes a contribution to the construction cost of the 186 km transmission line from the Kidston site to Mt Fox.

This project not only rehabilitates the land but also supports the local community, particularly through its Indigenous Engagement Strategy (IES). Genex, the project’s proponent, has achieved notable success in indigenous employment, exceeding their target with 9.4% of the project’s workforce being Indigenous. They have actively collaborated with the Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation (EAC) to develop an approved Indigenous supplier database and encourage Indigenous supplier involvement. Furthermore, Genex supports Indigenous-led projects such as the Talaroo Hot Springs tourism precinct, underscoring their commitment to fostering opportunities and community development.

The benefits of a well-implemented rehabilitation plan are broad and long-lasting. Local communities experience an economic and social revival, with the introduction of training and professional requalification programs. These initiatives help local people find new employment opportunities, promoting economic diversification and reducing reliance on mining.


Prioritizing ESG Initiatives


Rehabilitating mined areas isn’t merely a regulatory requirement but a strategic chance for mining companies to leave a positive legacy. With conscientious practices and strong community engagement, it’s feasible to transform landscapes and lives, demonstrating that responsible mining is not just viable but imperative for a sustainable future.

Today, an ESG approach isn’t just preferred by investors and stakeholders; it’s also a risk-mitigation strategy. Companies will discover that by investing early in innovative methods, they save costs in the long run, enhance their reputation in the community, protect the environment and the communities who depend upon it.


Stay informed, make a difference!

Join us in our mission for a sustainable future. Acess our insights and subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with the latest sustainability news, tips, and trends. Together, let’s create a green and social economy for all.

Scroll to Top