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Annual Geoscience and Exploration Seminar 

The Annual Geoscience and Exploration Seminar (AGES), the Northern Territory Government’s flagship exploration event was again sponsored by AMEC and hosted in Alice Springs from 16 to 17 April 2024. Not only was it the 25th anniversary of the event, a record 330 participants attended, reflecting the strong interest in the Territory’s mineral opportunity.  AMEC hosted a meeting with the Minister for Mining, Hon Mark Monaghan, with members to discuss the current regulatory environment and the rising cost of doing business. 

 

Mineral Industry  

The NT Government is seeking feedback on the draft Northern Territory Minerals Industry Plan – Pathway to 2030. Implementation of the Mineral Development Taskforce’s plan is crucial for the Territory to achieve its $40 billion economic target by 2030.  

The Plan is focussed on the delivery of the following four objectives: 

  • Diversified and Resilient Minerals Industry 
  • Destination of Choice for Investment 
  • Timely and Effective Aboriginal Territorian Participation 
  • Strong Industry Social Licence

AMEC are providing a submission.  The consultation closes on 14 May, read more here

 

Social Licence 

The Northern Territory Government has launched its new social licence campaign aimed at reassuring investors and building the industry’s social licence by asserting the Territory’s local regulatory scheme was up to scratch. 

AMEC has been involved in regular meetings with the Department to help formulate the campaign and provide examples of good social licence practices within industry. AMEC is supportive of this campaign and the positive effects it should have for the industry. 

Dewatering licences 

AMEC is hosting a briefing from the Northern Territory Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (DEPWS) on how the Territory will regulate dewatering from mining activities.  The  Government is seeking to regulate dewatering under the NT Environmental Protection Act as a drive to simplify regulation for mining operators and regulators to create a streamlined single view.  AMEC is meeting with DEPWS to clarify the regulation of mineral exploration, and work through the possible definitions of dewatering. 

 

Environmental reforms 

On 28 November 2023 the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly passed the Environment Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2023. Since November 2023, AMEC has been consulting with the DEPWS regarding how the Government will implement standardised risk assessments to standardise broad environmental outcomes.  If this is applied per project (rather than per company), this will be a positive outcome for the Territory, Government, companies and the environment.  Similar to the Eligible Mining Activities framework in WA, the Northern Territory will ensure that the framework is only applied in non-environmentally sensitive areas of the Territory.  The majority of mineral exploration activities attract largely the same conditions, so this step toward standardisation is an obvious streamlining that will lead to transparency and clear expectations across the sector.  AMEC continues to meet with DEPWS to seek these outcomes and will coordinate a briefing with members in May to discuss how implementation will be delivered. 

Royalties discussion 

AMEC continues to advocate to the Northern Territory Government that the royalty rate for gold d’ore should be 2.5%, in lock step with WA, rather than 3.5%.  Since exploration data was collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 1988, 44% of exploration expenditure in the Territory has been to pursue gold.  AMEC continues to advocate to the Treasurer and the Minister for Mining that Mineral Development Taskforce’s clear objective of making the Northern Territory competitive has to be met.  As the Government has noted a final product (gold bullion) would attract a 2.5%, however the likelihood of an inaugral mint opening in the Territory is statistically small. 

 

Minerals Titles consult 

As previously consulted in 2015, the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade is considering reforms to the Minerals Titles Act that could streamline the operation of the Act.  AMEC is anticipating a consultation on the proposed reforms to the Minerals Title Act in the next quarter. When the consultation is public, AMEC will coordinate a briefing with members.  AMEC is concerned that the introduced of a ‘fit and proper person test’ and technical work reports, will have unintended consequences.