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A number of potentially dangerous mine shafts in the Queensland town of Stanthorpe – some up to 10 metres deep – have been excavated or backfilled.

This precautionary measure will help limit the risk of injury to forestry workers as well as visitors to the area, according to Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps.

Mr Cripps says that the Department of Natural Resources and Mines Abandoned Mines Unit is doing an important job to help keep Queenslanders safe.

“All of the old mine features are in granitic soil, which can result in unstable ground developing around shafts and over any tunnels,” said the Minister.

“If a person had fallen into a shaft, or been in one of these tunnels when they collapsed, the consequences could have been fatal.”

In total, 17 abandoned mine shafts and six mine entrances have been remediated by the Unit. Furthermore, a number of drives linking the separate mine entrances have also been made safe.

According to a University of Queensland report entitled Managing and Prioritising Rehabilitation of Abandoned Mines in Australia, abandoned mines can be found all across the country. There are more than 15,000 abandoned mines in Queensland alone.

Abandoned mines – sometimes known as derelict or orphaned mines – can pose a significant risk to people and wildlife. Anyone aware of such a mine should report it to their nearest abandoned mine authority.

In Queensland, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines has an online form that people can use in order to raise awareness of any abandoned mines they think may pose a health and safety risk.

People working in areas where abandoned mines are present should take care to ensure proper protocols are followed at all times, to lower the risk of an incident occurring.

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