PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Northern Territory government on Friday announced plans to ban seabed mining in the region.
A moratorium on mining activities in the sea and coastal waters is due to expire on March 5, but will be extended for up to another six months to allow Environment Minister Eva Lawler to consult on the draft prohibition declaration, and how it will operate in Northern Territory coastal waters.
“Our natural environment is one of our best assets and it’s a large part of what makes living in the Territory so special. It is important that our unique environment and the jobs that rely on it are protected, and that is exactly what this government is doing,” Lawler said on Friday.
Seabed mining has never been undertaken in the Northern Territory, with Lawler noting that there were very few seabed mining projects globally, making limited information available to identify and inform best practice environmental management and rehabilitation in the marine environment.
She said that this was particularly important in the Territory where waters are shallow, clean and highly dynamic and marine and coastal environments are mostly intact.
“The Territory government knows our natural environment is one of our best assets and a huge part of what makes living in the Territory so special. We also know that a healthy environment creates a stronger economy and more local jobs - good environmental policy is smart economic policy.”
The moratorium was introduced to allow the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) and Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority to prepare advice to government on the actual or potential impacts of seabed mining on the Northern Territory’s environment, including its social and cultural environments, and sacred sites.
The NT EPA undertook extensive public consultation on its draft advice, and has provided the results of this consultation to the Territory government.
“The Territory government remains focused on being the comeback capital of Australia through a diverse range of existing and new job-creating industries in the Territory, while also protecting our environment,” said Lawler.