Read our full submission regarding regulation of mining activities: environmental regulatory reform here.
For the first time in 20 years, the Northern Territory is reforming its outdated mining laws. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix the system that produced the most toxic mine in Australia: McArthur River Mine.
The NT’s mining laws are not working, and they never have. They are a significant reputation, financial and environmental risk to the Northern Territory.
Legacy mines such as Mount Todd, Rum Jungle and Redbank tarnish the landscape, leaching heavy metals and acids into waterways, with apparently little consequence for the mining companies who were responsible for the damage. The Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism (DITT) is both promoter and environmental regulator, which has led to a perception of regulatory capture. The weak environmental provisions of the Mining Management Act have given DITT a discretionary jurisdiction that largely operates behind closed doors. Compliance, monitoring and enforcement functions appear to be weak, or absent. For example, a recent NT Supreme Court case revealed that no site inspections were carried out at all by DITT at Frances Creek Mine while it was operating, despite significant environmental issues. This substandard regulation has resulted in adverse impacts for the Northern Territory’s reputation as a regulator, and the environment.
The most egregious example of regulatory failure is at McArthur River Mine. A recent report co-authored by the UNSW Global Water Institute (link to report here) and ECNT shows that DITT’s regulatory action has lagged years behind the identification of significant environmental issues at the mine site, with catastrophic impacts. Together with Jack Green and Josie Davey from Borroloola, ECNT has commenced litigation challenging Minister Nicole Manison’s decision to slash the security bond at McArthur River Mine. Enough is enough. It’s time to draw a line in the sand, including by fixing the NT’s shocking mining laws.
ECNT has put in a submission calling for 8 components to proposed reforms to the NT’s mining system:
You can support our McArthur River Mine campaign to fix the NT’s mining laws by donating here on our website.