A FILMMAKER says mining laws must change to stop a repeat of company insolvencies in the industry, similar to what happened recently in Bendigo.
Peter Vaughan says the collapse of the company working ill-fated Bendigo mine sites highlight weaknesses in mining laws and regulations.
The documentary filmmaker brought cameras to Bendigo as he delved into gold mining's legacies for his new film Mine-Field.
"The mining laws need to be reformed - and the environmental effects processes mines use - need to be reformed to put the public on an equal footing with mining interests," Mr Vaughan said.
The call is taking greater urgency as a flood of exploration increases the likelihood of more mines throughout the state, he said.
Mr Vaughan's feature-length documentary was filmed over five years and followed a small group of east Gippsland farmers who took on a large international corporation.
It also follows the story of what mining companies leave behind when they move on or collapse.
In Bendigo's case, Mr Vaughan found sites in Kangaroo Flat and Woodvale where taxpayers will have to rehabilitate following last year's liquidation of mining company Kralcopic.
The company left behind a government-mandated environmental bond of $6 million to cover costs, though Mr Vaughan is skeptical that it will cover what's expected to be large and complex rehabilitations.
He fears the figure might only cover some elements like planning.
"If there's no money to do it all, the public's going to have to pay," Mr Vaughan said.
The film tracks how Kralcopic, a smaller mining player, took over a site once run by Bendigo Mining, which spent big digging a tunnel under the city but failed to find enough gold to succeed.
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Mining regulator Earth Resources Regulation expects onsite rehabilitation to begin later this year using the $6 million in environmental bonds Kralcopic left behind.
"We're making progress with specialists onboard to ensure we're using the best approaches and will continue to keep the community updated," ERR's acting executive director Jenine Smith said.
Mr Vaughan is cynical of the mid-2010s Victorian government decision to give Kralcopic licences.
He said it was one example of a larger company getting permission to hand off to smaller players with less financial capacity.
ERR revoked Kralcopic's licences in 2019 over concerns about its capacity to pay back debts and fund future works, triggering the protracted crisis that ended with the company's collapse.
Mine-Field's Bendigo premiere is scheduled for Thursday night (tonight) and will act as a fundraiser for the Bendigo District Environment Council.
BDEC is billing Mine-Field as a "must see" for those who want to learn more about the impact of Victoria's latest mining boom, which has triggered a slew of new exploration projects across the region, BDEC said.
The group will use funds raised to support campaigns to protect the Wellsford Forest and the Campaspe River from mining pollution.
Eaglehawk's Star Cinema will show Mine-Field at 7pm tonight. Bookings are essential for the ticketed event. Find out more at Star Cinema's website.
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