Legacy mines

Legacy mines can arise where mining activities occurred:

  • before the requirement to pay a security or the security has been expended or
  • where a mining title has been relinquished.

They are also known as unsecured mining activities.

Types and impacts

They can range from:

  • isolated mine workings like an open shaft
  • to complex mines with waste rock dumps and tailings dams.

There can also be legacy mine features within active mine sites that are not the responsibility of the new mining operator.

Legacy mines can cause:

  • public hazards such as:
    • safety risks from open workings or pits
    • infrastructure that is often degraded
  • environmental impacts including:
    • acid metalliferous drainage
    • poor water quality
    • erosion
    • weed infestation.

It is in the interest of the mining sector to see legacy issues addressed, as their continuing presence:

  • may have adverse impacts on the environment
  • can reinforce community opposition to mining, especially when new developments are being proposed.
While there may be a large number of legacy mines, most are old workings and few are large complex sites.


For more information, email lmu.ditt@nt.gov.au or read more about the Legacy Mines unit.

Last updated: 24 October 2022

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!