The NT Government has implemented a moratorium on seabed mining activities in Northern Territory 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:
NT EPA advice
To inform NT Government’s review, the NT EPA has been asked to prepare a report on the following matters:
- (a) the actual or potential impacts on the environment and other resource industries, and
- (b) methods for managing the impacts.
Other NT Government agencies have also been asked to prepare reports to contribute to the review.
Once the NT EPA and other Government agencies have completed their reports, the Northern Territory Government will finalise its consideration of the future of seabed mining in the Territory.
The Interim Report: Seabed Mining in the Northern Territory was released in November 2012.
A draft Final Report: Seabed Mining in the Northern Territory is currently being prepared.
It is anticipated that this draft Final Report will be released for public consultation towards the end of 2020 and the Final Report delivered to the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in early 2021.