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The Northern Myth

Sep 13, 2017

What’s a mine worth in the NT? This much …

The mining security bond will be utilised by government, if required, to prevent, minimise or rectify environmental harm caused by mining activities on or off the mining site or for completion of rehabilitation. Mining securities are calculated based on the amount of disturbance likely to be caused by the authorised mining activities.

As I wrote here earlier today, the NT Government has decided to release the amounts it holds by way of mining security bonds over the nine mines currently operating in the NT.

That long struggle—led by the NT’s Environmental Defenders Office—has seen the release of that information to the public. The EDONT’s struggle, in the first instance concerning the mammoth McArthur River Mine at Borroloola in the NT’s Gulf country, eventually resulted in the government publishing the totals security bonds for each of the mines currently working in the NT – see the Department of Primary Industry and Resources website here.

The department advises that:

A mining security bond is held (by DPIR) for all authorised mining activities. The mining security bond will be utilised by government, if required, to prevent, minimise or rectify environmental harm caused by mining activities on or off the mining site or for completion of rehabilitation. Mining securities are calculated based on the amount of disturbance likely to be caused by the authorised mining activities. Authorised mining activities are detailed in the approved Mining Management Plan (MMP).

I note that the total the department “currently holds” around $56.6 million in securities that are held against other mines, whose identity and location we don’t yet know. We’ll return to that—and other related matters—in due course.

The department reckons that the onus on finding out which mines that money is allocated against is on us:

Securities held against individual mining Authorisations can be obtained on written application addressed to the Manager Mining Register by emailing mineral.info@nt.gov.au

Personally, I reckon that the department should be doing that job off its own bat … we do pay public servants to do precisely that kind of job and they do have the information to hand.

If you want to find more information about each of the “Authorised Mining Sites” in the NT – a 20 page document that lists all manner of very interesting information – have a look at the department’s list here.

That’s all for now – feel free to share your thoughts and ideas about where this may all end up.

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Photo: Redbank copper mine, Gulf country NT. Sara Everingham, ABC News

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