Statement: Controller of water resources
The Northern Territory Controller of Water Resources has granted a Territory company a licence to extract up to 1649ML of surface water per year from the Roper River, for the next four years.
This level of extraction is already occurring and has been allowed for a decade under the authorisation of the Mining Management Act 2001.
However, the Controller declined the company’s application for a licence for a further 1651ML per year until the proposal is considered under the Environment Protection Act 2019.
The applicant, Australian Ilmenite Resources, has indicated it will refer its proposal for expanded mining operations to the NT EPA in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 2019.
The new surface water extraction licence is timed to expire in the same year as the company’s Mining Management Plan.
Quotes from Jo Townsend, Northern Territory Controller of Water Resources:
“Australian Ilmenite Resources is a mining company that has been authorised to extract up to 1649ML per year through the Mining Management Act 2001 for the past decade.
“Significant and successive reforms to the Water Act 1992 have occurred during the past 5 years.
“As a result onshore petroleum and mining activities now need a water licence under the Act to extract ground and surface water for their operations.
“My decision to grant the company a 4 year surface water extraction licence ensures water take from this mining operation is regulated under the NT Water Act 1992 and subject to conditions of a water extraction licence.
“It also reflects the findings of the 2010 environment assessment report, assessed under the Environmental Assessment Act 1982.
“Water use by this mine has been incorporated into the Roper River ground and surface water modelling since 2013 which provides assurance that the predicted and actual impacts of this level of extraction are well known and understood.
“The decision is also based on ensuring there is no adverse impacts on river flows, and other water users, including drinking water for local communities and homelands.
“Licensing activity is in line with Government policy and allows for holistic management of the resource, including being able to reduce extraction limits during below average wet seasons.”
Go to the NT water licensing portal to view the Controller’s notice of decision.