The Australian mining industry and the federal government are committed to the future of Australian mining, which is why they’ve established some core management principles to ensure mining companies work with stakeholders to examine the wider impact of mining activities.
The principles of sustainable development are about making sure economic development occurs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To this end, all mining companies and operators within the industry in Australia must apply environmental management systems to control the immediate and long-term environmental impacts of their operations.
In operational terms, the mining industry in Australia is one of the most efficient mining industries in the world. In this instance, efficiency is closely related to the goal of sustainable development, with the efficient use of water and energy an indicator of how a mining company is managing its environmental responsibilities.
Precaution, Accountability and Transparency
At any time, the Australian government has the right to refuse a mining proposal. The government can also create regulations and establish committees or government agencies to ensure mining activities do not damage the environment, their employees or the communities where mining occurs. Mining companies are required to disclose their operational procedures and to be open to independent monitoring.
In Australia, the pollution laws stipulate that corporations and individuals are responsible for their role in creating pollution, whether on land, sea or air. For the mining industry, the most relevant pollution laws are around responsible waste management. Serious financial and operational penalties exist for illegal dumping of waste with some actions, such as polluting groundwater or rivers, creeks and streams carrying penalties of up to $1 million and/or seven years imprisonment.