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Nolans Project - Mine

Guidelines for Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement

NOTE: This proposed project has been altered. Assessment continues for the Nolans Rare Earth Project

On 26 November 2008 the then Northern Territory Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage issued the Nolans Bore – Mine Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines to Arafura Resources, valid for two years.

On 5 August 2010, Arafura Resources requested an extension to the Guidelines. On 30 December 2010, the then Minister granted a two year extension to the Guidelines. On 13 September 2012 Arafura Resources requested an additional extension.

On 12 November 2012 the delegate of the Minister for Lands, Planning and Environment, William Freeland, granted a two year extension to the Guidelines in accordance with Clause 8(6) of the Environmental Assessment Administrative Procedures 1984. In granting the extension the delegate also informed Arafura Resources of a number of minor updates to be considered in preparing the EIS.

Various requirements in separate sections of the EIS Guidelines refer to Minesite Closure with regards to the fate of mine infrastructure etc. As it would be a requirement in the Mining Management Plan to address Minesite Closure it is recommended Arafura Resources addresses the closure of the mine in the EIS with a draft Minesite Closure Plan to a satisfactory level as deemed by the Department of Mines and Energy under the Mining Management Act.

Section 2.2 The long term protection of water quality in local and downstream groundwater resources
This section should include the long term protection of groundwater resources. Section 2.2.1.3, dot point 4, can be further clarified by defining the "life-of-mine" to include the completion of site decommissioning and/or beyond, depending on observed impacts. The scope of dot point 6 should extend beyond "settlements" and include all groundwater users in the Ti Tree Water Control District.

The EIS Guidelines must incorporate the requirement for an impact study that includes an analysis of potential risks from mining activities to public health including impacts on drinking water supplies (i.e. groundwater or surface water).  In the event of any unauthorised release of waste, or tailings water to the environment, this should trigger a further impact study, including an assessment of bioaccumulation of toxins in fish or other relevant bush tucker near the site.

Section 2.3 Long term prevention of hazardous or radioactive discharges from mining activities, including from waste storage facilities

Section 2.3.1 - Dot point 2: The Radiation Safety Control Act is repealed and replaced by the Radiation Protection Act 2004. The name of current legislation should be used. Dot point 4: Delete the following: "Currently, the latter is achieved by ensuring the former. The Radiation Protection Act 2004 will commence soon but these objects are appropriate for the Radiation (Safety Control) Act."

Section 3.1 Other potential impacts - Specific requirements and information:
Species of Significant Conservation Value (NT and Commonwealth):
Aspects of this section that relate to flora and fauna should consider the following guides and policy updates:

Where offsets are proposed, details should be provided as to how the proposed offset aligns with the principles of the EPBC Act Environmental Offsets Policy (October 2012). Background information for this is:

    • The EPBC Act environmental offsets policy (the policy) and the accompanying Offsets assessment guide (the guide) have been released following approval by the Minister of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Hon Tony Burke MP. Both the policy and guide have been finalised after extensive consultation and research.
    • As part of the National Environment Law Reform agenda, the policy provides upfront guidance on the role of offsets in environmental impact assessments under the EPBC Act and how the department considers the suitability of a proposed offset. It aims to improve environmental outcomes through the consistent application of best practice offset principles, provide more certainty and transparency, and encourage advanced planning of offsets. It replaces the draft policy statement Use of environmental offsets under the EPBC Act (2007).
    • The guide, which accompanies the policy, has been developed to give effect to the policy's requirements, utilising a balance sheet approach to quantify impacts and offsets. It applies where the impacted protected matter is a threatened species or ecological community. The guide has been developed for expert users in the department to assess the suitability of offset proposals; however, it is also available to proponents to assist with planning and estimating future offset requirements. The policy, guide and supporting documents are available on the department's website at: Please do not hesitate to address any queries or comments to the Regulatory Reform Taskforce at EPBC.Reform@environment.gov.au.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions: Reference should be made to the new Commonwealth National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/National-Greenhouse-and-Energy-Reporting/Pages/default.aspx.
  • Point 5 under Section 3.1 asked for environmental factors and aspects to be addressed on Socio-economic issues. The Department of Business requests that if Arafura Resources is in a position to include more details of the social and economic benefits of the project in the EIS this would be advantageous to their assessment of the project.


Other Potential Impacts of the Project
A meeting was held between GHD, Arafura Resources and Department of Health (DoH) on 18 October 2010 concerning DoH requirements for preparation of the EIS. A key issue discussed was a social impact assessment of which the ongoing action stated "The social impact assessment will be used to meet some of the needs of an environmental health assessment." The Guidelines for the EIS must acknowledge the social impact assessment and detail it scope.

Appendix A: Requirements for Mining Construction and Bush Camps
The Environmental Health Information Bulletin No 6 has been superseded by the more comprehensive Environmental Health Fact Sheet No. 700: Requirements for Mining and Construction Projects (attached).

Document / Page Type
Guidelines 2012 PDF 247.9 KB
Guidelines 2010 PDF 221.3 KB
Guidelines 2008 PDF 299.9 KB
Notice of Intent Web Page
Related Project Year
Nolans Rare Earth 2016