Will they be filled in, or will the Pilbara be forever scarred by the legacy of vast pit voids?
The issue is becoming more pertinent as some of the 50-year orebodies BHP and Rio Tinto developed in the region are coming to the end of their lives.
According to 2016 WA Scientist of the Year Kingsley Dixon, director of the ARC Centre for Mine Site Restoration in Perth, the Pilbara will be left dealing with a changed landscape that will never be properly rehabilitated.
Dixon told Australia's Mining Monthly he had little confidence in mining companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto, which had legacy mines stretching across vast tracts of the region.
He said some of those mines were approved back in the 1960s when rehabilitation was not a consideration, s...