The Northern Territory government published the Mineral Development Taskforce Final Report on 14 April 2023 and the highlight of the report was the commitment to modernise the Northern Territory’s royalty regime to an ad valorem system. AMEC has been calling for this since 2017, and it is a bold move to enhance the attractiveness of investing in the Territory. AMEC met with the Mineral Development Taskforce multiple times throughout 2022, and in early 2023, to reinforce the need to move from the hybrid royalty model, as the current regime is confusing and creates a barrier to investment.
The report also addresses access to land and includes proposals to expedite land access. Land access and the cost of doing business have been two of AMEC’s main priorities for reform in the Northern Territory. Ensuring explorers can get onto ground quickly and cheaply is crucial to attracting investment.
The report indicates a continuation of the conversation of whether the regulation of mining will move from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade to the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security. AMEC expects the government will move to deliver on this 2016 election commitment in the next six months. There is concern amongst many in industry that this machinery of government change will lead to longer approval timeframes and a reversal in the streamlining that has been achieved. The insistence to shift the regulation to DEPWS (Department of Environment, Parks, and Water Security) will undercut some of the investment attractiveness that reforming the royalty regime will generate.
The Northern Territory parliament passed amendments to the NT Water Act. The legislation amended the existing transitional arrangements to set a two-year timeframe for pre-2019 mine operators that use water to apply for a water extraction licence. The amendments removed the existing trigger for transitioning, which is dependent on a review and re-approval of mine management plans. A two-year timeframe for transition provides a hard deadline for pre-2019 mine operators to apply for a water extraction licence. It ensures this water use is included in the licensing framework in a timely manner, are measuring their water use, and adhering to licence conditions.
The Northern Territory will undertake reforms to the Livestock Act to increase biosecurity and ensure the legislative framework is prepared if there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) or similar. AMEC has been discussing these potential reforms with the Biosecurity and Animal Welfare branch, to ensure appropriate management is possible without introducing a veto to access. AMEC will coordinate a briefing for members on the drafting of reforms, once the consultation is progressed further.
AMEC has made the following submission on behalf of member companies:
To learn more please contact Neil van Drunen on 0407 057 443.