Environmental impact assessment

If your proposed exploration, mining or extractive activity could have a significant impact on the environment, it may need to undergo an environmental impact assessment through the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NTEPA).

The NTEPA assesses applications for the risk to the environment.

If the risk associated with a proposal is very low, the NTEPA may advise the department to assess and approve activities without a formal environmental impact assessment.

For guidelines, policies and facts on environmental impact assessments, go to the NTEPA website.

Formal assessment

An environmental impact assessment is a formal process which has a number of steps including public notification and opportunities for public feedback.

The NTEPA will consider all public feedback and advice from independent bodies before providing the relevant minister with a report.

The report will make recommendations for environmental management.

The department will then decide whether or not to approve the proposed exploration, mining or extractive activity and determine what conditions should be attached to any approval and the associated authorisation.

Matters of national environmental significance

If any proposed exploration, mining or extractive activity is likely to have an impact on a matter of national environmental significance, it must be referred to the Australian Government for assessment.

Matters of national environmental significance are defined by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and include:

  • world heritage properties
  • national heritage places
  • wetlands of international importance (often called Ramsar wetlands after the international treaty under which such wetlands are listed)
  • nationally threatened species and ecological communities
  • migratory species
  • Commonwealth marine areas
  • the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • nuclear actions including uranium mining
  • a water resource in relation to coal seam gas development and large coal mining development.

If your proposal is assessed by the Australian Government as likely to have a significant impact on any of the above, it will need further assessment and approval before you can proceed.

To read the guidelines for determining whether an action is likely to have a significant impact, go to the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.


For more information, contact the Mines Division.

Last updated: 21 October 2020

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