Mining on Aboriginal land continues to contribute significantly to the NT’s mining and energy industries. One of the most productive gold mines in Australia is in the Tanami Desert, some 500 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs. The Newmont Corporation’s Tanami Operations mine at The Granites has yielded millions of ounces of gold over the past 20 years. Gold exploration continues in the Tanami and Tennant Creek regions. Oil and gas production occurs at Mereenie, west of Alice Springs, Palm Valley, and the new Dingo gas field south of Alice Springs. The new Northern Gas Pipeline has allowed Mereenie to ramp up production and Palm Valley to resume production.
Mining and related agreements deliver benefits to traditional owners, such as community-driven development projects, compensation payments, employment, training, sacred site and environmental protection, and cultural awareness.
When negotiating with exploration companies about access to Aboriginal land, the CLC must ensure that traditional owners are fully informed before they make decisions about exploration and mining. Only where there is informed group consent can Aboriginal people and mining companies make agreements. Adherence to the legislative process provides certainty to all parties.
EXPLORATION LICENCE AND PERMIT APPLICATIONS
Exploration for minerals and petroleum is regulated under the NT’s Mineral Titles Act 2010 and the Petroleum Act 1984. Exploration licences allow the holder or operator to explore for minerals over the area of the licence. Exploration permits generally cover the very large areas that are required for oil and gas exploration.
On Aboriginal land in the CLC region, exploration licences and permits can be granted only with the consent of the CLC. The mining provisions (Part IV) of the Land Rights Act set out a clear process for accessing Aboriginal land. When a new application for exploration is made, the NT Minister for Primary Industry and Resources initiates the approval process by consenting to exploration applicants entering into negotiation with the CLC. The applicant then has three months to lodge a comprehensive application with the CLC.
In response to an application, the CLC must consult the relevant traditional owners and ascertain their views. The applicant may be entitled to present their exploration proposals to the traditional owners at a meeting. A representative of the minister may also be invited to attend.
Where instructed by the traditional owners, the CLC negotiates an agreement about the terms and conditions of the grant. This process protects the rights and interests of the traditional owners and, once a decision is made, the applicants have the certainty required to invest in exploration.
Where Aboriginal landowners consent to exploration, they also consent to mining or production. The consent to mining occurs at the very start of the development process, when little is known about the nature and scope of the proposed development. Landowners will not have fine details about a project’s future when they make their initial, binding decision at the exploration application stage. Further, they are not allowed to change their mind and say no to a mine later. However, a subsequent mining or production agreement must be in place before a mineral lease or production licence is granted. By the time a project has reached the stage where the proponent lodges a mining or production licence application, more information is available and further negotiation can take place; however landowners have no further veto right.
The CLC is legally obliged to ensure that landowners are as well informed as possible when making such far-reaching and risky decisions. Landowners must understand the nature and purpose of exploration before they consent to an agreement. Mining generally involves significant impacts on the environment and can affect neighbouring communities. The CLC must also consult with these affected communities, even though they do not have the right to refuse a project. It conducts exploration and mining consultation meetings to ensure that landowners affected by applications exercise their rights under the Land Rights Act. Table 15 shows recent data for the processing of applications.
Table 15. Processing of applications for consent to the grant of exploration titles under mining provisions of the Land Rights Act
Number of exploraton titles (mainly ELAs and EPAs) effectively progressed to an initial traditional owner meeting
Total number of exploration titles considered at traditonal owner meetings (includes first and further meetings)
Number of exploration titles processed to a final decision
Number of exploration titles completed in total (includes those withdrawn during negotiating period)
Average time taken (in years) from date of application is received to either CLC Consent or Refusal
In 2019–20, the CLC prepared 36 traditional owner identifications ahead of meetings about exploration licence applications over Aboriginal land but only conducted two consultation meetings with traditional owners who considered three individual exploration titles. By contrast, 37 titles were considered at 10 meetings in 2018–19, 25 titles at nine meetings in 2017–18, and 35 titles at 11 meetings in 2016–17. The significantly lower number of titles processed during 2019–20 reflects a sustained decrease in the number of applications since 2014–15, when 115 titles were considered. This was also a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions. The decline reflects the continued difficult market conditions for exploration investment, low commodity prices (except for gold) and uncertainty about onshore gas exploration.
Exploration permit applications (EPAs) for oil and gas were not considered. This was due to uncertainty about onshore gas application processing, and regulation associated with the NT Government’s ongoing implementation of recommendations of the scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing. Thirty-four EPAs remain under negotiation. Once new processes are in place and Aboriginal people in the region have received comprehensive information about the regulatory changes, the CLC will start to process the titles. Some are in geologically non-prospective areas and may be subject to regulation about ‘no-go zones’. The inquiry recommended that areas not prospective for onshore gas, or where coexistence is not possible, be declared reserved blocks under section 9 of the Petroleum Act 1984 (NT). This means they become ‘no-go zones’. Areas to be reserved include places of high tourism value, towns and residential areas, national parks, conservation areas, high ecological value and high cultural significance areas, and IPAs. Once declared, exploration or drilling for petroleum resources cannot occur there.
In 2019, the government began to declare petroleum reserved blocks in areas that are not on Aboriginal land (except for jointly managed parks) and that fall into these categories, and are not subject to granted exploration permits. By the end of the period, 668 square kilometres of land in the CLC region was gazetted as petroleum reserved blocks. There are other significant areas in the CLC region that have been identified as being non-prospective or not suitable, which may be gazetted as petroleum reserve blocks in the future. These are on Aboriginal land and, therefore, await advice from the CLC. This advice is subject to traditional owner instructions, or to existing petroleum exploration permits, and requires that the NT Government reaches an arrangement with the proponent.
The CLC held meetings in Tennant Creek and in Hatches Creek. These remote area meetings require careful planning and are resource intensive. They can involve several mining companies and numerous traditional owner groups from many different communities, as well as various mineral commodities. They may cover many thousands of square kilometres. Grouping of titles for consideration at a single meeting saves resources, but is complex and challenging. It depends on factors such as the number of traditional owner groups, whether it is appropriate to bring groups together, the number of companies involved and their ability to progress negotiations, and the availability of CLC staff and vehicles to bring the traditional owners to the meeting.
Figure 7 compares the number of exploration licence applications and exploration permit applications processed during 2019–20 with those of the previous five years.
Figure 7. Exploration titles on Aboriginal land applied for and processed, 2012–20
The NT Government issued 34 titles with consent to negotiate in 2019–20, less than half the amount of the previous year (77 titles). Figure 8 shows the trend in the processing of exploration titles on Aboriginal land for the past eight years.
Despite the difficult investment climate, interest in exploration for gold continued due to high and rising prices. Gold has long been seen as a secure investment in uncertain global political and economic landscapes. This was particularly evidenced by increased investment in gold as the COVID-19 pandemic affected investor confidence. Interest in gold in the CLC region has been focussed on the world-class Callie deposit in the Tanami, as well as areas around the proven Tennant Creek region. Other mineral commodities in the CLC region are copper, rare earths, base metals, uranium, tungsten, coal, salt, phosphate and potash.
Poor oil prices persisted through 2019. The price per barrel dived in early 2020, driven down by reduced demand in response to the pandemic. High transport costs of gas from remote areas to markets on the east coast, investor caution, and community concern about fracking also impacted oil and gas exploration title processing. The completion of the Northern Gas Pipeline to Mount Isa at the end of 2018, and the Tanami Gas Pipeline to the Newmont Tanami Operations in May 2019, has created new gas markets in the NT and interstate.
Figure 8. Trends of exploration titles processing on Aboriginal land, 2012–20
Since the lifting of the two-year moratorium on shale gas exploration and fracking in April 2018, work has been undertaken to prepare the NT’s legislative and institutional landscape to safely administer an onshore oil and gas industry, in line with recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory (the fracking inquiry). In June 2019, the NT Government announced the completion of phases one and two of the implementation and that exploration for unconventional gas could recommence. This is yet to have an impact on Aboriginal land in the CLC region. Processing of 34 EPAs will restart when the government releases an information package on onshore gas exploitation techniques for Aboriginal people by the CSIRO. This is expected in the second half of 2020.
Despite Central Australia’s highly prospective geology, ongoing low commodity prices and demand shocks resulting from the pandemic, border closures and travel restrictions, as well as remoteness and a lack of investor confidence, continued to impact on the number of new exploration applications.
Forty-one of the 46 applications received were new, three were no longer under a moratorium (when traditional owners refuse consent and an exploration licence is frozen for five years), and one title had consent to negotiate withdrawn and reissued and, subsequently, a new application submitted. Eighteen titles were withdrawn before the processing of the title was complete and 16 titles were withdrawn during the negotiation period. The modest numbers withdrawn in the past three years suggest that many of the more speculative titles and junior applicants have already rescinded tenements. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ mineral exploration expenditure data shows a downward trend since the record-high years of 2010–2012. The national petroleum exploration spending has trended sharply down since 2014 peaks. However, the NT Government reported a continued recovery in 2018, with an increase in exploration expenditure and reported activity that is supported by the bureau’s data, but has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Oil and gas
The NT experienced an oil and gas rush several years ago and EPAs and granted titles from those years continue to blanket the jurisdiction. Recent horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques that facilitate the economic targeting of deep shales and tight rocks and continued global demand for gas reflect the renewed interest in the region’s hydrocarbon basins.
The 160,000-square-kilometre Wiso Basin, between Tennant Creek and Barrow Creek, and the 170,000-square-kilometre Amadeus basin, southwest of Alice Springs, are subject to numerous applications. The applications cover several Aboriginal land trusts, and some are in areas where landowners have not dealt with oil and gas exploration processes under land rights before. This means the land councils must invest significant efforts in order to facilitate informed decision making.
The 330,000-square-kilometre Georgina Basin, northeast of Alice Springs and extending into Queensland, initially had blanket coverage of applications and granted titles. However, three exploration permits that covered nearly 35,000 square kilometres were surrendered following the unsuccessful exploration of deep shales in the southern parts of the basin. Explorers are also targeting the 150,000-square-kilometre Pedirka Basin, which lies southeast of Alice Springs and straddles the border with South Australia, for underground coal gasification and thermal coal.
Individual application areas for oil and gas may be up to 16,000 square kilometres each, are generally very remote, and are often difficult to access. One EPA is counted as one title even though it may coincide with, or equate to, the total area covered by 20 or more mineral exploration licence applications.
The CLC did not consent to any titles in 2019–20. The lingering impact of the moratorium and the implementation of recommendations from the fracking inquiry continued to delay the processing of EPAs. With the reserve block policy now finalised, the CLC is ready to recommence processing of some titles when the information package for Aboriginal people is released. Large areas of Aboriginal land in the CLC region under application for petroleum exploration have been categorised as not having petroleum potential, or as being of conservation or heritage significance. Despite this, the NT Government is determined not to withdraw consent to negotiate on the applications in question and gazette the areas in reserved blocks. The CLC will have to convene large and potentially costly meetings for the landowners to consider these areas, even though the government acknowledges that there is little potential for hydrocarbon discovery.
As with previous years, some applicants lack capital and a number of mineral explorers with significant portfolios of applications and granted titles under agreements are involved in protracted negotiations. The introduction of biosecurity areas in response to COVID-19 all but stopped consultation meetings in 2020, significantly impacting the CLC’s ability to process titles.
Significant ground remains available for application by mineral explorers. This contrasts sharply with the exploration boom years from 2010 to 2012. Table 16 compares the number of exploration licence applications, both consented to and refused, with previous periods.
There were no consents or refusals of applications. As such, no average could be determined for the reporting period to measure against the standard negotiating period of two field seasons, or 22 months, specified under the Land Rights Act. The time required to negotiate an agreement varies considerably and depends on factors such as the applicants’ familiarity with the process and access to exploration capital. The CLC has to wait until a company is ready to progress negotiations or, if there is a lack of progress, may refuse the titles and place them under a moratorium.
Table 16. Exploration titles (exploration licence applications and exploration permit applications) on Aboriginal land
Consent to negotiate from NT Government
Application for consent to the grant*
Withdrawn during negotiating period
Consent to the grant
Granted by NT Government
Under negotiation as at 30 June
*Includes applications following expiry of moratorium period.
The negotiating period can be extended by agreement. Many applications, which may take years to conclude, are delayed by applicants seeking joint-venture partners when they are unable to explore in their own right. Such searches are often unsuccessful. A title may be subject to multiple joint-venture attempts. Extremely tight funding for exploration programs in Central Australia can result in serious delays in processing applications, yet processing time is a key performance indicator for the CLC. Uncertain economic conditions also influence the completion of negotiations.
The CLC had 204 title applications under negotiation at the end of the financial year, marginally above its target of fewer than 200 applications under negotiation. This is 32 more than the last period’s 172 ELAs under negotiation.
Despite its best efforts, the CLC was unable to process any mineral applications to first meeting stage during 2019–20. Meetings planned in 2020 could not occur, due to pandemic restrictions.
The NT Government used section 41 of the Land Rights Act to withdraw consent for 10 ELAs from non-performing companies. One ELA had consent withdrawn in 2018–19, and none in 2017–18. Withdrawing consent helps to avoid ‘warehousing’ of titles and has improved the active participation of bona fide applicants in negotiations. COVID-19 exacerbated an ongoing global shortage of exploration capital and limited applicants’ capacities to access funding.
The CLC received seven new exploration permit applications in 2019–20 and has 34 current EPAs over Aboriginal land. Most applied more than a decade ago. Many old applications do not address shale gas and are silent on the use of fracking. The CLC worked with applicants and the NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources about new consents so new applications could be submitted, reflecting the changes to onshore gas exploration, production and regulation.
Consultations with traditional Aboriginal owners for oil and gas exploration licence applications were suspended during the fracking inquiry and the implementation of its 132 recommendations. The NT Government adopted all of them and has implemented recommendations about changes to approvals, petroleum environmental laws and the Water Act. The CLC kept its delegates and executive informed on the implementation process, building on two onshore oil, gas and fracking fora during council meetings in 2018–19. It continues to collaborate with the CSIRO, the Australia Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, governments, and other interested parties in order to provide traditional owners with comprehensive and balanced information in plain English.
The CLC worked with government, industry and Aboriginal representatives to guide the development of an industry-funded hydrocarbon information package. Once the program is finalised and presented to communities across the CLC region, and traditional Aboriginal owners are better informed, consultations about applications for hydrocarbons and fracking will resume. The COVID-19 restrictions added a further obstacle to existing issues of the number, size and complexity of consultations required for oil and gas EPAs. They will continue to present a challenge for the CLC in processing titles during the next few years.
Uranium and other commodities
Central Australia remains highly prospective for uranium, however, only three applications that identified uranium as a target commodity were received. This is consistent with recent experience. In 2018–19, no applications targeting uranium were received, which marked a logical end point to a steep decline in interest in the commodity over the previous years. In 2017–18 21 per cent of exploration applications received were for uranium, whereas in previous years they made up 95 per cent. The slightly renewed interest probably reflects the jump in uranium price from below US$25 per pound over the last few years to around US$30 per pound in early 2020. The price is still low compared to the 2011–12 spike. Traditional owners have mixed views on the exploration, mining and use of uranium. This is evidenced by widely reported opposition to uranium and proposed nuclear waste repositories at Muckaty Station, the Tanami region, and near the date farm south of Alice Springs.
Applications to explore for uranium come with unique transport, use, regulation, radiation protection and waste storage issues. Many traditional owners have broadened their knowledge of uranium and of radiation monitoring at a mine or exploration site over the years, with the support of the CLC. Its uranium information strategy provides affected Aboriginal communities and traditional owners with facts about uranium mining, radiation, downstream processing and storage. It is visual and in plain English, using print and video, and has made traditional owners aware of the contested nature of the nuclear industry.
AGREEMENT MAKING AND IMPLEMENTATION
When the CLC enters into agreements with mining or energy companies, it assumes a range of obligations and responsibilities. The agreements generally provide for fiscal benefits to traditional owners; procedures for the protection of sacred sites; approvals for work programs and access permits; environmental protection and rehabilitation; employment, training and contracting; and liaison, reporting and inspection.
Table 17 summarises the CLC’s current exploration and mining agreements, including the total area of land under exploration agreements. On 30 June 2020, it had 51 current exploration agreements with respect to 176 exploration titles and the area of land under agreement was 53,110 square kilometres.
Eleven agreements relate to 16 mineral leases or production licences for operations in areas of the Tanami, Utju (Areyonga) and Tennant Creek, as well as oil and gas fields at Mereenie and Palm Valley near Ntaria (Hermannsburg), and the Surprise oil field near Kintore. These numbers do not include native title agreements.
A native title agreement was signed in June 2020 for the Arafura Resources Limited’s Nolans rare earth project near Aileron. Project agreements under negotiation on the pastoral estate relate to Tellus Holdings’ proposed Chandler salt mine and deep geological waste repository near Titjikala; KGL Resources’ Jervois base metal project near Bonya; Tri-Star Energy’s Pedirka coal project near Aputula (Finke); and Verdant Minerals Limited’s phosphate project on Ammaroo Station, 200 kilometres southeast of Tennant Creek. The CLC did not finalise any new exploration agreements in the reporting period.
Table 17. Current exploration and mining agreements
Type of agreement
New in 2019–2020
Total current at 30 June 2020
Number of licences, permits and leases associate with agreements
Total area of Aboriginal land under ELAs and EPAs
Tanami mining agreements
The Newmont Corporation’s Tanami operation mines gold ore from the Callie deposit and mills it at The Granites adjacent to the Tanami Road. This is one of Australia’s most productive and remote gold mines with an endowment of 13 million ounces of gold. Production ramped up from 80,000 ounces per year in 2017 to 425,000–475,000 ounces per year to date, after the completion of a $150 million expansion project.
In May 2019 the Tanami Gas Pipeline began to supply new gas- fired power stations at The Granites and Dead Bullock Soak mine sites. The CLC monitored the mining agreements and toured the two mines in July 2019 with liaison committees, including representatives from traditional owner groups and the company.
Tanami Gold NL acquired the Newmont Corporation’s tenements around the Tanami mine in 2010, but was unable to return the mine to production. Northern Star Resources Limited has an interest in the mine and continued to explore with a view to reopening it. Feasibility studies are ongoing and traditional owners met with the company in September 2019 to discuss progress.
TRL Tanami signed an operator agreement with Prodigy Gold NL to revitalise the historic Old Pirate mine, although work has not commenced and is likely to be further delayed by COVID-19.
The Prodigy Gold NL (Prodigy), owned Twin Bonanza mine, remains in care and maintenance with no activities reported.
Tanami Desert Ten Year Plan
Traditional owners in the Tanami, the CLC and the Newmont Corporation developed the Tanami Desert Ten Year Plan in 2017 (then called the Granites-Kurra Ten Year plan) in order to improve employment and education outcomes in remote communities and to strengthen residents’ voices through better collaboration between the communities, the company and the CLC. Yapa teachers from Yuendumu began to translate the plan into Warlpiri, while company representatives attended meetings of the Granites Mine Affected Areas and Kurra Aboriginal corporations to inform the directors about works at the mine and build relationships.
In 2019 Newmont engaged the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining at the University of Queensland to provide secretariat support for the plan’s steering committee, advice, and monitoring and evaluation. The CLC contributed almost $66,400 from a NIAA grant to the cost. The CLC and the company attended quarterly steering committee meetings, which continued via video conferencing during the COVID-19 travel restrictions. A planning workshop scheduled for March 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic.
Tennant Creek mining agreements
In November 2019 the CLC and traditional owners visited the Edna Beryl gold mine north of Tennant Creek where Territory Resources was working in partnership with Emmerson Resources. The companies pumped groundwater out of the underground workings in readiness for reopening the mine in 2020.
Oil and gas production agreements
Significant oil and gas production and exploration activities took place in the region south and east of Alice Springs where the CLC is processing approvals for conventional oil and gas exploration.
The mature Mereenie oil and gas field is operated by Central Petroleum Limited which has a 50 per cent stake in the asset that still produces after more than 30 years of operation. The company returned the Palm Valley gas field to production in November 2018. Its Dingo gas field near the Brewer Estate industrial area, which provides gas to the Owen Springs power station servicing Alice Springs, is also online.
Activity in oil and gas production in the region has been boosted by access to east-coast markets via the Northern Gas Pipeline. This connects the Mereenie field to the Darwin pipeline, and to eastern Australia via Mount Isa. The Tanami Gas Pipeline provides an additional market. The CLC continues to administer agreements on behalf of landowners relating to both pipelines.
In July 2019 the CLC helped to establish a liaison committee for the Dingo gas field and helped to facilitate liaison committee meetings for production operations at Mereenie and Palm Valley. The discussion covered updates on current and future projected production and sales, the life of the fields, hydraulic fracturing, environmental monitoring, Aboriginal employment and community sponsorships.
A further Central Petroleum asset, the Surprise oil field near Kintore, has been closed since August 2015 due to the low price of oil but the agreement is still in place.
Exploration agreements: minerals
The majority of exploration activity under agreements occurred in the Tanami and Lake Mackay regions. There was also significant exploration expenditure in the Tanami region in the second half of 2019, however COVID-19 restrictions put the exploration on hold.
IGO Limited has continued extensive greenfields exploration on the 7,700-square-kilometre Lake Mackay JV with Prodigy Gold (formerly ABM Resources) and Castile Resources Limited, targeting gold and base metals following the CLC’s two helicopter work area clearances in 2019.
In August 2019 the CLC held a liaison committee meeting with Energy Metals Limited for the Bigrlyi Project targeting Uranium on Mount Doreen Station. The company updated native title holders about the project and showed them rehabilitation works on exploration areas.
Prodigy Gold regrouped as an exploration company following the closure of the Twin Bonanza mine in 2016. It continues to explore across the Tanami with new partners. The CLC has several exploration or mining agreements with Prodigy Gold and held a liaison committee meeting in September 2019 to discuss the EL 9250 agreement.
In response to Newmont’s ambitious exploration programs close to the Dead Bullock Soak, The Granites and Windy Hill mines, the CLC invested significant planning and resources in four major work area clearances. The company reported on its 2019 exploration activities at a meeting of the combined liaison committee for The Granites and Dead Bullock Soak mines and exploration areas, held at The Granites in July 2019.
The Barkly–Tennant Creek region saw renewed gold and base metal exploration. Some of this is particularly focussed on the Arunta Block, a geological terrain covering around 200,000 square kilometres north and west of Alice Springs, and also at several areas northwest of Tennant Creek.
Also in July 2019 the CLC and traditional owners visited the Bootu Creek manganese mine because some wanted to see what a manganese mine might look like if the mineral were discovered on their land.
In October 2019 the CLC held a liaison meeting at Hatches Creek for GWR Group Limited’s advanced tungsten-copper exploration project. The company confirmed multiple high-grade polymetallic tungsten deposits. In the same month, the CLC joined landowners for a trip to observe phosphate exploration conducted by Verdant Minerals Limited at the Elkedra and Ammaroo stations.
The CLC and traditional owners carried out a sacred site clearance for Emmerson Resources Limited’s gold exploration near the North Star mine and other historic gold targets in November 2019.
Exploration agreements: oil and gas
Conventional petroleum exploration involving the drilling of an exploration well into Amadeus Basin rocks near Imanpa, south of Alice Springs, ended in August 2019.
The NT Government finalised its response to the fracking inquiry, which aims to ensure a safely managed onshore petroleum industry.
The CLC participates in onshore gas fora, such as the NT Chief Minister’s onshore shale gas community and business reference group; the geological and bioregional assessment program; the Beetaloo sub-basin user panel; the Aboriginal information program committee; and the gas industry social and environmental research alliance’s NT regional research advisory committee and stakeholder roundtable group.
It participated in three meetings of the community business reference group, which oversees the implementation of the fracking inquiry recommendations. Recommendation 11.6 requires the development of an Aboriginal information program. The program working group includes a CLC representative, and met three times during 2019–20 to discuss the development of the information program.
In February 2020 the CLC made a submission on a consultation draft by the NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The submission argued for a strategic regional environmental and baseline assessment of areas prospective for shale gas, in line with recommendation 15.1. The CLC participates in research committees with the CSIRO, and other parties with interests in shale gas, fracking, and representing community concerns.
In September 2019 the CLC’s executive endorsed a letter to the NT Minister for Primary Industry and Resources on behalf of traditional owners in the southwest of the NT, requesting that an exploration permit close to a highly significant sacred site be reserved from petroleum and mineral exploration and production. The minster agreed to reserve the area from petroleum exploration under the ‘no-go zones’ policy in December. However, unfortunately, the area may still be subject to mineral exploration licence applications.
The CLC attended a workshop with key NT Government departments in August 2019 to gain a better understanding of the regulatory framework for Tellus Holdings’ Chandler salt and waste storage project near Titjikala. The CLC and traditional owners are particularly interested in controls relating to the management of hazardous waste storage.
Ongoing discussions between the CLC and the NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources took place to enable explorers to submit new applications pursuant to the Land Rights Act with updated information, including about fracking.
The NT Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics and the CLC continued to discuss access to gravel on Aboriginal land for road building under the CLC’s improved process for monitoring and managing gravel extraction.