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The Northern Territory (NT) Government has implemented a moratorium PDF (39.7 KB) on seabed mining activities in NT coastal waters. The moratorium has been in place since March 2012 and remains in place until March 2021.

Seabed mining is a diverse and evolving industry focused on exploiting mineral deposits on and under the sea floor. There is limited information available on the impacts of seabed mining on the environment, methods for appropriately managing those impacts or methods for rehabilitating the seabed following mining activities.

The purpose of the seabed mining moratorium is to provide Government with the opportunity to undertake a review of the actual or potential impacts of seabed mining in NT coastal waters to provide a basis for the assessment of the possible future development and sustainability of the industry.

The moratorium operates in conjunction with two reservations declared under the Mineral Titles Act 2010:

NT EPA advice

To inform the NT Government’s review, the NT EPA has been asked to prepare a report on the following matters:

  1. the actual or potential impacts on the environment and other resource industries
  2. methods for managing the impacts
  3. other matters outlined in the letter to the NT EPA from the then Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage.

View the complete terms of reference PDF (1.3 MB).

Current progress

The Interim Report: Seabed Mining PDF (4.1 MB) in the NT was released in November 2012.

The NT EPA released a draft final report for community consultation in September 2020. Comments closed on 9 November 2020.

In December 2020 the NT EPA finalised and delivered its Final Report - Review of Seabed Mining in the NT PDF (4.9 MB) and the Consultation Report PDF (957.4 KB) to the Minister for Environment.

Under the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority Act 2012, the Minister for Environment is required to prepare a written response to the NT EPA’s Final Report – Review of Seabed Mining in the NT PDF (4.9 MB) within six months of receiving the report.

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