A review which may see the Northern Territory Government lift its ban on seabed mining is now open for public comment.
A draft report lists the likely target resources as including aggregate sands or gravels, mineral sands containing gold, diamonds and rare earth minerals, offshore salt deposits, and mineral deposits (manganese, phosphate, bauxite) that are extensions of known onshore resources.
The executive summary notes that the techniques available for seabed exploration and mining are continually advancing and the methods most likely to be used in coastal waters of the NT involve scraping
or excavating the seabed using hydraulic or mechanical dredges.
A moratorium on seabed mining in NT coastal waters has been in place since 2012.
The review has been prepared by the NT Environment Protection Authority to inform the Northern Territory Government’s ongoing position on seabed mining in the Territory by advising on:
- the actual or potential impacts on the environment and other resource industries, and
- the methods for managing the impacts of seabed mining.
“The coastal waters of the Northern Territory are highly valued by Territorians for their environmental, cultural and recreational importance and the role they play in natural resource-based industries such as commercial fishing, aquaculture and tourism,” NT EPA chairman Dr Paul Vogel said.
“The review describes the range of potential environmental impacts, risks and uncertainties and the management measures that could be used to manage impacts from seabed mining on the Territory’s coastal waters.
“We encourage everyone to read the draft review and take the opportunity to provide feedback.”
The draft report Review of Seabed Mining in the Northern Territory-Environmental Impacts and Management is available for public exhibition and community comment, closing November 9.