Whilst the Nolans Bore Rare Earths Mine may be “Charged and Ready To Go” the Northern Territory community must be made aware of the potential environmental risks.
The Arid Lands Environment Centre is concerned that the mine poses a whole host of serious risks including permanent landform changes, radioactive contamination, habitat destruction and even the permanent diversion of a creek. Our concerns were confirmed by the NT EPA when in its own assessment report it stated that: “due to the lack of site-specific information (including baseline data), considerable uncertainty remains around the potential for significant environmental impacts over the life of the Project”.
The Arid Lands Environment Centre has written to the Department of Mines with the support of the Public Health Association NT and the Environment Centre NT to outline the risks. One of the biggest concerns is the radioactive tailings that will be produced by this mine, and how they will be managed.
Mines in the NT are still not subject to pollution regulation or water law and mining management plans are not available to the public. There is no way to know for sure what could be happening on site and whether the company is complying with the publics’ expectations to prevent long term serious environmental harm. There is a very real risk that if in the event the company goes bankrupt and they do not rehabilitate the land, then the taxpayer and environment will be left to foot the bill for many generations to come. This has happened and is happening in the NT.
Environmental law is currently undergoing a major reform in the NT and this project must be regulated by the new system, not the inadequate and outdated laws that currently regulate mining.
Nolans Bore should not be approved until we can be sure that the risks do not outweigh potential economic development. Before approving projects like these we need to ask collectively whether jobs and revenue are worth a generational legacy of environmental risk and health hazards.