The New South Wales government will commence essential remediation work to improve safety and reduce environmental risks at the historic Lake George Mine site in Captains Flat.
Historic mining operations in NSW such as Lake George Mine were not subject to the stringent rehabilitation regulatory requirements in force today.
Under contemporary mining regulations, mine operators are required to submit and implement comprehensive rehabilitation plans, lodge security bonds, and progressively remediate sites to limit poor environmental and safety outcomes.
NSW Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos said the NSW government is committed to safeguarding the environment and protecting local communities — including through the Legacy Mines Program.
“Mining continues to drive prosperity in NSW. Remediating historic legacy mines is an important way that the NSW government can support local economies and ensure regional communities are great places to live and visit.
“By addressing the legacy of historical mining practices, we are ensuring a better and safer future for our communities,” said Houssos.
The NSW Resources Regulator is responsible for ensuring compliance with rehabilitation plans approved through the planning process.
While it was operative, Lake George Mine was one of the largest base metal mines in NSW.
It produced lead, zinc, copper, pyrite, silver and gold and spanned approximately 100 hectares of legacy mine workings, extending underground to a depth of over 600 metres.
The mine operated over several decades, starting in the late 1800s and closing in the 1960s.
Up to $33 million of remediation work at the Lake George Mine will be carried out under the NSW government’s Legacy Mine Program – a fund which has $107.7 million allocated for high-risk historic and abandoned mine sites.
During the work period, the site’s historic mining structures will be preserved to maintain the mining history of the site. Works will commence on 20 November 2023 and be carried out until the middle of 2026.
NSW Member for Monaro Steve Whan stated: “The further remediation of the Captains Flat mine surrounds reflects the fact that our knowledges of the dangers of this type of site continues to get better.
“I am also very conscious of the fact that private land owners in Captains Flat also face considerable uncertainty and potentially high costs as a result of the government identifying issues on town blocks.”
Whan said that he has not forgotten about them.