A reform for the Northern Territory’s environmental mining regulation, the Environmental Protection Legislation Amendment (Mining) Bill 2023, has passed through Parliament and is set to improve transparency and certainty in the industry. 

The Northern Territory’s mining industry represents the largest income of the territory’s own source revenue. The industry is worth over $6 billion and employs more than 5,000 people directly.

The reforms implement a streamlined system to facilitate ecologically sustainable mining in the territory.

The Bill introduces a new, best practice legislative framework for managing the environmental impacts of mining based on the risk of the activity to the environment, with a contemporary outcome-focused approach to regulation.

The framework is expected to deliver improved investor certainty, better environmental outcomes, and build community confidence in the regulation of mining activities through increased transparency.

Highlights of the mining Bill include:

  • A new three-tier risk-based licencing system to manage mining activities
  • Extensions to 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 was also passed, to provide a new regulatory framework for the Mining Remediation Fund and the payment of the mining remediation levy to underpin the government’s commitment to the remediation of legacy mines. 

The Territory Government said that the Northern Territory now has the most contemporary environmental framework for the management of mining and legacy mines in the country and that it will be at the forefront of ongoing innovation and developments in legacy mine remediation.

Northern Territory Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Security, Kate Worden, said that the resources sector is a major employer and economic driver for the Northern Territory and will be an important factor in the territory’s future prosperity.

“Mining needs to be sustainable and ecologically viable. These reforms will give the industry more certainty around what their environmental responsibilities are,” Ms Worden said. 

“The new legislative framework will increase transparency and accountability of the regulator and mining operators, delivering stronger environmental outcomes in the regulation of mining activities.”

Northern Territory Minister for Mining and Industry, Nicole Manison, said that the mining industry is the biggest contributor to the territory’s economy, and the Territory Government wants to make it even bigger.

“This will mean thousands of new jobs, economic growth and more investment in the services and infrastructure Territorians deserve,” Ms Manison said. 

“These reforms ensure we have a streamlined environmental assessments system that will give greater certainty to the mining industry and streamline processes to faster approvals.

“These changes will help make the Northern Territory a more attractive place for mining investment with a modernised environmental system.

“These changes mean Territorians can have confidence that mining can take place in a sustainable way with strong environmental protections in place.”

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