As Victoria continues to experience a boom in minerals exploration and development, it is essential that we learn from past impacts. While mining helped build the state’s economy in the 19th century, the current boom threatens regional communities and farmland, and will use increasingly scarce surface and groundwater. All proposals must be carefully scrutinised and managed to avoid reckless and short-sighted approvals so that this and future generations of Victorians are not exposed to even more social, economic, and environmental harm.
In 2021, a range of local groups concerned about the impacts of mining started to meet to share skills, strategy and knowledge. Over time, this informal network developed into the Alliance For Responsible Mining Regulation (ARMR). ARMR calls for an overhaul of mining regulations that must result in better outcomes for the community and environment.
Now, with a state election in less than 4 weeks, ARMR has launched a blueprint for reform of the laws around mining in Victoria.
ARMR believes that Victoria’s Mining Act must be updated to reflect current social, economic, and environmental conservation and biodiversity expectations, including fair compensation for directly and indirectly affected landholders and communities. Legislation and regulations must enforce international best-practice, and include the prohibition of upstream and wet tailings dam facilities to remove the ongoing negative impacts on communities, soils, and water and to alleviate the risk of a catastrophic dam failure and subsequent impacts on neighbouring communities and the environment. Royalties must be brought in line with those of other states and licensing must include the addition of a levy to secure funding for the rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites and the reclamation of Victoria’s many legacy sites
Robyn Grant, President of Mine-Free Glenaladale, said:
"Mine-Free Glenaladale is grateful that ARMR is drawing attention to just how broken mining regulation is in Victoria. It's time for politicians and decision-makers to start acting for communities, local economies and the environment and to put a stop to mining companies being able lie about resources and profitability and then to walk away leaving a trail of destruction and heartbreak behind."
"What will it take for political parties of all persuasions to start acting responsibly when it comes to mining regulation?"
"ARMR's 10-point-plan clearly shows what must be done if governments are to have any hope of gaining community trust in mining regulation."
"The ARMR document is the only thing Mine-Free Glenaladale has seen that clearly outlines what is wrong with mining regulation in Victoria and what must be done to avoid further destruction of communities, local economies and the environment."
"ARMR's 10-point-plan gives a path for overcoming the shoddy mining regulation that is costing Victorian communities and their environments dearly, and that is leaving all Victorian taxpayers with massive clean up bills while mining company directors slink away from the messes they've made."
Kirsty McDonald, member of Save the Campaspe said:
“Victorian Mining Regulators are consistently failing to protect communities and the environment, preferring to focus on mining company profit and short term gains. Regional communities, the health and wellbeing of families, environment and biodiversity across Victoria is baring the full brunt of this bias towards mining companies which in turn is leaving a toxic legacy and land rendered useless for future generations.”
“With Fosterville Gold Mine acknowledging that their proposed expansion could affect regional groundwater resources, never has it been more important for Victorian Mining Regulators to protect downstream primary producers, families and communities that rely on this vital groundwater.”
“Local and State Governments need to stop being short sighted and start putting protections in place that prioritise families, environment and our waterways because mining companies have proven time and time again they will abandon the mine and fail to rehabilitate it.”
“ARMR’s 10 point plan is a responsible, considered, evidence-based approach, with lived experience of mining being a major catalyst for the call to overhaul Mining Regulation in Victoria.”
Col Finnie, Administrator, No Drilling (and no more gold mining) in our Valleys group in north eastern Victoria said:
“The atrocious record of gold mining in Victoria is a “sleeping” environmental travesty in many parts of the state. ARMR is an alliance of many activist groups throughout Victoria aiming to put focus on the detrimental effect of gold mining in this State. The long history of no rehabilitation of mine sites and environmental damage and the apparent disinterest by politicians of all colours motivated the formation of the alliance”.
The 10 point plan can be accessed here.
Robyn Grant, President of Mine-Free Glenaladale, 0438 571 586
Col Finnie, 0428315487
Dr Dora Pearce PhD, Environmental Epidemiologist, Ballarat, 0438197373
Bendigo & District Environment Council
Don't Undermine Steiglitz
East Gippsland Alliance
Friends of the Earth
Gasfield Free Bairnsdale
Let's Stop Proposed Mining in North East Victoria
Maldon Community Alliance
No Gold Castlemaine Diggings
No Gold Drilling (and No Gold Mining) in our Shire Valleys
No Mining Yandoit Region
No Wombat Gold
Save Huntly Streamside Reserve
Save the Campaspe