Business, Earthmoving News

Northern Territory announces mining reforms

The Northern Territory government has announced a series of reforms designed to improve the Territory’s environmental management of mining activities and provide greater certainty for industry.

The new Environmental Protection Legislation Amendment (Mining) Bill 2023 introduces a new, best practice legislative framework for managing the environmental impacts of mining based on the risk of the activity to the environment.

The Mining Bill introduces:

  • a new three-tier risk-based licencing system to manage mining activities
  • extends existing compliance and enforcement powers under the EP Act
  • provides for incorporation of impacts previously managed through multiple regulatory approvals, under the one overarching environmental (mining) licence.

The Legacy Mines Remediation Bill 2023 has also been introduced to provide a new regulatory framework for the Mining Remediation Fund and the payment of the mining remediation levy.

“The new legislative framework is set to implement a modern, streamlined and effective system to support the ecologically sustainable development of the mining industry in the Territory.

“It will also increase transparency and accountability of the regulator and mining operators, delivering stronger environmental outcomes in the regulation of mining activities,” Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Security Lauren Moss says.

“These proposed reforms are critical to ensure we have a robust regulatory system in place for the sustainable development of our mineral resources, thereby protecting the Territory’s unique environment.”

Avenira’s Barkly mining project approved 

The Northern Territory state government also recently announced that Avenira Limited’s Mining Management Plan (MMP) has been approved under the Mining Management Act 2001, authorising mining to commence at the company’s Wonarah Phosphate Project.

The Wonarah Phosphate Project is located 300km east of Tennant Creek and will initially create 25 jobs, increasing to 50 during the Direct Shipping Ore program.

First exports will be for phosphate rock and later exports will supply Avenira Limited’s Lithium Ferro Phosphate (LFP) project at the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct.

Traditionally, phosphate has been used in agricultural fertiliser and is now in increasing demand for use as a critical mineral in electric vehicles and energy storage batteries.

Avenira Limited signed a Mining Agreement with the Arruwurra Aboriginal Corporation in July, which will ensure local aboriginal people and businesses are given first consideration for employment or contracting opportunities, the NT government says.

“In huge news for the Territory economy and a big win for jobs in the Barkly, Avenira Limited has met its regulatory obligations and is now authorised to commence mining,” Minister for Mining and Industry Nicole Manison says.

“The Wonarah Phosphate Project further cements the Territory’s reputation as a globally significant hub for resources and critical minerals.

“This is the ninth significant mine approval in the past three years. We have the resources the world needs to transition to net-zero emissions and green energy and we support the projects that make this happen.”

Avenira Limited says the project will see Darwin become a key supplier of critical materials to the global battery market.

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