Apply for a mining authorisation or variation of authorisation

Before you can undertake any mining activity in the Northern Territory (NT), you must prepare a mining management plan, obtain an authorisation and pay a security. 

This applies to any exploration, mining, and extractive activities likely to cause substantial disturbance of the ground. You need a mineral title before you can apply for an authorisation.

An authorisation gives you permission to undertake the work detailed in your approved mining management plan.

If you have an existing authorisation and want to change mining activities or mining interests etc, you must apply for a variation in your authorisation stating the reasons for the variation.

Read more about substantial disturbance. Read more about mineral titles.

Definition of a mining activity

A mining activity includes all of the following:

  • exploration for minerals
  • mining of minerals
  • processing of minerals, tailings, spoil heaps or waste dumps
  • decommissioning or rehabilitation of a mining site
  • operations and works in connection with the above activities, including all of the following:
    • the removal, handling, transport and storage of minerals, substances, contaminants and waste
    • the construction, operation, maintenance and removal of plant and buildings
  • operations for the care and maintenance of a mining site when an above activity is suspended.

How to apply

If you own the mineral title but another person or company is going to operate the site, you must notify the department using the nomination of an operator form.

Get the form.

Nomination of an operator DOCX (61.4 KB)
Nomination of an operator PDF (180.9 KB) 

It is then the operator's responsibility to apply for an authorisation or to vary the current authorisation by filling in the application form. The form must be submitted to the department with a mining management plan - see below.

Get the form.

Application for authorisation DOCX (61.1 KB)
Application for authorisation PDF (178.4 KB)

If you are going to appoint an agent to act on your behalf and to deal directly with the department for important matters under the Mining Management Act then you must fill in the authority to deal with an agent form:

Owner responsibilities

If you own the mining site and appoint another company or person to operate the site, you are responsible for making sure the operator is competent and complies with all legal requirements.

You must give the operator all available information to help set up and implement an environmental management system and ensure they have the resources to do so.

Operator responsibilities

The operator for a mining site is responsible for the control and management of the site and all mining activities.

Mining management plan

A mining management plan (MMP) must include all of the following information:

  • details of the mineral title for the site, and who owns it
  • a description of the organisational structure for the mining operation
  • a description of proposed mining activities
  • plans of current and proposed mine workings and infrastructure
  • details of environmental management systems
  • a plan and costing of closure activities
  • other information or plans required by the department.

Read more about developing mining management plans.

Getting approval

The department will review your application and mining management plan. You may be asked for further information.

The department’s period for review of the initial information is approximately 30 days, however this may be shorter for small operations such as exploration activities or longer for large operations such as complex mining sites. 

If no further information is requested, you may expect to see a request for security letter soon after the initial review period. 

Once the security has been deposited and receipted an authorisation for the mining activities detailed in the MMP is issued.


The operator must pay a security before the mining management plan is approved and an authorisation can be issued.

The security is designed to do all of the following:

  • ensure the operator complies with all legal environmental requirements
  • cover costs where the department takes action to complete rehabilitation of a site, or prevent, minimise or rectify environmental harm.

Read more about securities.  

Secondary authorisations

An authorisation usually covers the range of mining activities conducted on site, but in some situations a separate authorisation may be sought for a specific activity.

For example, if an operator doesn't want to be responsible for managing an on-site explosives store, the department would consider granting a separate authorisation to enable another entity to manage the store.

The activity covered by the separate authorisation must be within the scope of the original authorisation and be related to other mining activities on the site.

Authorisation process flowchart

Mining authorisation process flowchart

Last updated: 11 March 2020

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!