Mining bonds off the secret list in the NT

The NT Government has promised to disclose mining security bond amounts.

Critics have long argued the bonds set aside by mining companies for their developments at not sufficient to clean up all the mess they may leave behind.

Media reports today suggest the Government is holding more than $1 billion in securities.

Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles said after extensive consultation with the resources sector and other stakeholders, the decision has been made to disclose the amount of security held against individual authorised mining activities projects, including for exploration, extractive and mines.

“This Government made a promise to Territorians to be open and transparent,” Mr Vowles said.

“Security bonds are held to secure the operator’s obligation to comply with the Mining Management Act or to prevent, minimise or rectify environmental harm caused by mining activities.

“In the Territory these amounts have previously been confidential, but we know it is important for Territorians to know the mining industry is being held accountable.

With that in mind, we are moving in line with other jurisdictions to make security amounts available to the public. Mining industry stakeholders have actively joined in the discussion on this issue, which took place through an independent facilitator and the Department of Primary Industry and Resources.”

Where a security is still held against any previously authorised projects, these figures will also be publicly disclosed.

“The NT Government seeks to strike a balance between supporting an industry that contributes a significant amount to the economy and the interest of Territorians in ensuring appropriate environmental management,” Mr Vowles said.

“Increasingly, industries such as mining are being required to develop their own social licence, and this new policy will help them do so.”

Under the Mining Management Act, before an approved mining activity may commence, a mine operator is required to provide a relevant Mining Management Plan (MMP) for approval and an appropriate level of security.

From tomorrow, the nine major mine securities with current MMPs will be on the DPIR website, while a system is developed to make figures for all authorised mining activities projects accessible.

Until this system is in place, those figures will be provided by DPIR on written request.