NT Environment Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2023

On 28 November 2023, the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly passed the Environment Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2023 (Amendment Act). In addition to minor amendments to the Northern Territory’s environmental impact assessment and approval system, the Amendment Act establishes a new environmental licensing framework for managing environmental impacts of mining activities under the Environment Protection Act 2019 (EP Act).

The new mining laws commence on 1 July 2024 and apply to all exploration, extractive and mining activities. An environmental (mining) licence is required for substantial disturbance. The Amendment Act identifies the types of activities that may cause substantial disturbance (refer new regulation 233R in the Amendment Act).

On commencement of the Amendment Act, the Mining Management Act 2001 (MMA) will be repealed.

Transitional arrangements under the Amendment Act ensure activities authorised under the MMA will continue to be authorised by the new environmental (mining) licensing framework under the EP Act upon commencement of the new laws.

The transitional arrangements apply for a maximum of 4 years from commencement of the new laws (i.e. 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2028). These arrangements balance the need to ensure that we do not have 2 mining regulatory regimes in operation for an extended period of time with the need to provide certainty to mining operators that transition does not undermine an existing mining authorisation.

Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (DEPWS) is continuing to work with the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, industry and relevant stakeholders to implement the mining reforms. A key component of this work is the development of risk criteria and standard conditions suitable for the Northern Territory as is required by the new legislation. There will be opportunities for input into the development of these documents.

For more information on the mining reforms, new licensing framework and transitional arrangements, please visit depws.nt.gov.au/environmental-regulation-mining.

To stay updated with the work of the department, including on mining reform implementation by signing up to the departments newsletter Finding the Balance.

If you would like to discuss the Amendment Act with the DEPWS, please contact [email protected] or 8924 4218.

For any questions, reach out to [email protected]. Let’s pave the way for sustainable mining practices in the Northern Territory!

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