In February 2021, the Northern Territory Minister for the Environment declared a ban on seabed mining in the NT.
Seabed mining has never been undertaken in the NT. Around the world there are very few seabed mining projects and there is limited information available to identify and inform best practice environmental management and rehabilitation in the marine environment.
This is particularly important in the Territory, where waters are shallow, clean, and highly dynamic and its marine and coastal environments are mostly intact.
The proposed prohibition in the draft declaration applies to all mining-related activities, in NT coastal waters, including intertidal waters.
Minister for Environment, Eva Lawler, said that the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) and the Aboriginal Areas Protection reports of seabed mining in Territory are clear that there are substantial risks associated with seabed mining.
“The lack of adequate information regarding impacts contributes to the uncertainty,” she said.
“By banning this industry the Northern Territory Government is protecting its magnificent coastal waters and thriving marine industries, and providing certainty to Territorians, including the mining industry.”
Under legislation, the Minister for Environment is required to consult with the NT EPA and the public in relation to the draft prohibition declaration, in accordance with the process outlined in the Environment Protection Regulations 2020.
Consultation will run from today (10 May) to 21 June 2021. Subject to the comments received during the consultation process, the declaration process is expected to be completed in August 2021 with the permanent ban coming into legal effect soon after.
To comment on the draft declaration visit depws.nt.gov.au/consultation-publications/open-for-consultation