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Legacy mines program

The Legacy Mines Program is a NSW Government initiative that delivers and manages works to reduce significant risks from legacy mine sites.

The Legacy Mines Program focuses on public safety and improving the environment through remediation of legacy mines. The program is administered by NSW Resources within the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

What is a legacy mine?

A legacy mine is an abandoned mine site that meets the following criteria: 

  • has had a previous mining title under the Mining Act 1992, or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 or their predecessors;
  • it must be abandoned, that is, there is no person or company with direct responsibility for the rehabilitation of the former mining activities able to be identified;
  • it constitutes a high environmental risk and/or high public safety risk, according to the Legacy Mine Program’s (LMP) risk assessment tool. 

Funding through the Legacy Mines Program will only be considered where a site meets these criteria. 

Program goals

Primary objectives

The primary objectives of the Legacy Mines Program are to:

  • reduce or eliminate risks to public health and safety;
  • reduce any impacts to the environment;
  • stabilise and prevent further degradation of legacy mine sites; and
  • remove or contain contamination at its source and prevent it from spreading.

Secondary objectives

Secondary objectives of the Legacy Mines Program are to:

  • optimise beneficial reuse of legacy mine sites;
  • encourage native plant and animal life;
  • conserve items of significant heritage value; and
  • improve visual amenity.


The range of remediation works funded by the program include:

  • detailed site assessments and preparation of remediation action plans
  • engineering design work
  • physical safety works (for example, fencing, grating or filling shafts)
  • erosion and sediment control works
  • management of acid mine drainage and contamination
  • stabilisation and revegetation of sites
  • monitoring and review remediation works
Landscape with red dirt shallow scooped out bowl and trees in distance
LMP Steering Committee Members visiting works in progress at the Urunga Antimony Processing site.

Prioritisation of works

The Legacy Mines Program prioritises the rehabilitation or remediation of legacy mine sites based on a variety of factors including the:

  • public safety risk
  • environmental risk
  • end use of the land
  • cost effectiveness of rehabilitation or remediation works.

Works primarily focus on remediating impacts on public land. 

Projects on private land will typically not be funded where: 

  • The land has been acquired after mining activities or mine related impacts have ceased; or
  • The mining was undertaken pursuant to a Private Mining Agreement or a mineral owner authority: or
  • There is no clear public benefit.

Projects delivering long-term benefit to the broader community are prioritised over short-term remediation works. The responsibility to manage the risks associated with legacy mines rests with the landholder.

Legacy Mines Program projects are undertaken in consultation with the community, industry and other government agencies.

Current regulation

Current mine operators are responsible for mine rehabilitation under the Mining Act 1992.

All current operating mines must lodge a security deposit for the full cost of rehabilitation at the commencement of operations. That security deposit is used to cover remediation costs if the mining lease holder fails to fulfil their rehabilitation obligations.

Contact the program

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