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1.0 Introduction

The Merlin Diamond Project, Public Environmental Report (PER) has been assessed in accordance with provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act and administrative arrangements between the Department of Lands, Planning and Environment and the Department of Mines and Energy.

This report assesses the possible environmental impacts of a proposal by Ashton Mining Limited to mine six kimberlite pipes (small open pits) and two bulk sample pits in the McArthur/Glyde region, 720km southeast of Darwin, Northern Territory.

Included in this report is a discussion of the main issues associated with the proposal, the potential impacts of the proposal on the environment and recommendations on how the identified impacts should be managed.

The assessment considered comments by the following advisory bodies:

Public Comments - One submission.

A synopsis of the comments is provided in Appendix A.

The contents of this report form the basis of advice to the Northern Territory Minister for Lands Planning and Environment in accordance with provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act and administrative arrangements between the Department of Lands Planning and Environment and the Department of Mines and Energy.

The proposed project is a relatively short term operation (2.5 years) mining 730,000 cubic metres of ore and is considered to have a limited potential to cause any significant long termed environmental impact, if appropriately monitored and managed.

Assessment of the PER has identified a number of aspects that require ongoing attention by Ashton Mining Limited. These issues are best addressed through reviewable Mine and Environmental Management Plans that require formal approval by the Department of Mines and Energy.

It is recommended that no further assessment of this proposal is required under the Environmental Assessment Act.

Recommendation 1

Ashton Mining Limited shall ensure that the proposal is implemented in accordance with the environmental commitments and safeguards identified in the Merlin Diamond Project, Public Environmental Report, or as modified in this assessment report, or an approved Environmental Management Plan.

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