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Economic returns of transferring post-coal mine land to grazing land in the Bowen Basin: Is this a new opportunity for rural development in Australia?
conference contributionposted on 2019-05-14, 00:00 authored by Delwar AkbarDelwar Akbar, John RolfeJohn Rolfe, Megan StarMegan Star, J-A Everingham, Susan KinnearSusan Kinnear
Most coal mines in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, Australia are at a mature stage. A number of these coal mines have been rehabilitating their mined land progressively with a view to relinquishing their mining leases once production finishes. The original land use of most mining leases in the Bowen Basin was grazing. Some studies have found that transferring such post-coal mine land to its original use of grazing was the most acceptable land use option in the eyes of local landholders. However, the actual costs and benefits for the future land owner are unknown. This study examines the direct costs of managing such land for grazing, as well as the direct benefits from beef production in the Bowen Basin region. The study found that the expected return is $97/ha/year. This is the net return, broadly equivalent to average revenues less average operating costs. The implications of these estimates are that if post-mining land could be returned to grazing capability with no additional management requirements or caveats on the title, it would generate increased agricultural production and contribute to rural development in mining regions of Australia.