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Table 16.23 presents information on the proportion of businesses in each mining industry that reported some type of environment management activity in 2000-01. In that year, 65% of all businesses in the mining industry reported they had some current environment protection expenditure. Metal ore mining was the industry with the highest proportion (72%) of businesses with current environment protection expenditure. Capital environment protection expenditure was reported by 28% of mining businesses, with metal ore mining again recording the greatest proportion (40%). Environment plans were in use by 57% of all mining businesses.
The Minerals Industry Survey report released annually by the MCA includes figures on rehabilitation expenditure, an aspect of environment management carried out after exploration is completed or the mine site has been shut down. These figures represent the amount treated as an expense for the year by the business but not the actual amount paid out for rehabilitation. They cover only part of the industry's total environmental expenditure. Substantial expenditures are often incurred in research, pollution monitoring and control, clean up and in capital expenditures designed to minimise the environmental impact of mining and minerals processing plant and equipment.
As shown in graph 16.24, expenditure on rehabilitation by the minerals industry declined sharply in 2000-01 after peaking in 1998-99. In 2001-02, rehabilitation expenditure was 17% below peak levels reflecting, to some extent, increasingly targeted, cost effective and efficient rehabilitation methods employed by mining businesses. In 2001-02, this expenditure accounted for 0.7% of total expenses of mining businesses compared to 1.0% in 1998-99.