Project Objectives as summarised in the EIS are:
Economic – establishment of a viable, culturally rich and sustainable two-stream (diversified) economy in the Groote Archipelago, controlled by the Anindilyakwa people.
Environmental – safeguard the surrounding biophysical environment in accordance with the objectives associated with each of the relevant NT EPA environmental factors.
Social, Cultural and Community – Involve key stakeholders in the Project to seek consultative feedback to inform the consideration of relevant issues in the assessment process and protect cultural values.
Winchelsea Mining submitted a referral to the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) in December 2020. The NT EPA determined a standard assessment by Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be an appropriate method of assessment for the proposed action. The Project was concurrently referred to the Commonwealth Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) in April 2021 (EPBC 2021/8877). In August 2021, the delegate for the Minister for the Environment made an Assessment Approach Decision and decided the Project would be assessed by accredited assessment under the EP Act at the level of an EIS.
Under the EPBC Act, the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment may rely on certain environmental impact assessments conducted by the NT Government when considering whether an action has significant effects on the environment. The NT EPA will assess and provide recommendations to both the NT and Commonwealth Environment Ministers on whether to approve the proposal and under what conditions. The Draft EIS chapters listed below have been prepared to address the EIS Terms of Reference, which meet the requirements of both government jurisdictions.
For further information on the progress of this assessment, refer to the environmental impact assessments register via the following link:
The public consultation period of the Draft EIS is from 5 February to 9 April 2024.
Interested persons and organisations wishing to comment on the Draft EIS are invited to make a submission to the NT EPA by 9 April 2024. via:
- Mail: GPO Box 3675, Darwin NT 0801
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online form: ntepa.nt.gov.au/consultation/open-consultations
- Verbal or other format: call 08 8924 4218
All submissions will be treated as public documents unless confidentiality is requested.
The Draft EIS chapters can be downloaded via the links below:
Appendix A-Stakeholder Engagement Plan
Appendix AA-Cultural Heritage Management Plan
Appendix B-Risk Assessment Register
Appendix BB-Biting Insect Report
Appendix C-ToR Cross-reference Table
Appendix CC-Biting Insect Management Plan
Appendix D-Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Report
Appendix DD-Conservation Significant Marine Species Report
Appendix E-JORC Reserve Estimate Report
Appendix EE-Migratory and Shorebirds Report
Appendix F-Terrstrial Ecological Assessment
Appendix FF-Winchelsea Island Marine Turtles
Appendix G-Erosion and Sediment Control Plan
Appendix H-Mine Rehabilitation and Closure Plan
Appendix I-Terrestrial Quality Sampling Report
Appendix J-Preliminary Geochemical Assessment
Appendix K-Water Management Plan
Appendix L-EPBC Protected Matters
Appendix M-Biosecurity Management Plan
Appendix N-Weed Management Plan
Appendix O-Groundwater Investigation Report
Appendix Pa-Surface Water Assessment
Appendix Pb-Flood Assessment
Appendix Q-Winchelsea Groundwater Model Report
Appendix R-Coastal Processes Assessment
Appendix S-Sediment Transport Modelling Report
Appendix T-Dredge and Spoil Disposal Management Plan
Appendix U-Marine Quality Sampling Report
Appendix V-Marine Sediment Sampling and Analysis Plan
Appendix W-Benthic Communities and Habitat Survey Report
Appendix X-Socio-economic Impact Assessment
Appendix Y-Winchelsea Island Cultural Heritage Report
Appendix Z-Benthic Loss Assessment
The project area is located on relatively flat low lying and variably vegetated country with a maximum elevation in the north-east of the exploration license of 42m above mean sea level.
Winchelsea Mining has progressively completed studies to build baseline data over the preceding years and improve confidence in the environmental impact analysis and outcomes. The studies supporting the analysis, risk assessment and proposed controls in this Draft EIS have been developed based on consultation with the NT EPA and aligned to address aspects of risk and information gaps as identified in the original referral and Terms of Reference. The assessment has sought to achieve residual risks that are ‘As Low As Reasonably Practicable’ (ALARP) through application of the environmental decision-making hierarchy (to avoid or mitigate potentially significant environmental impacts) and implementation of an adaptive management approach in accordance with current NT EPA guidelines and industry standards.
This has also included consideration of potential impacts of climate change (where applicable) and controls have been developed relating to ecosystem-based management accounting for the interrelated environmental interactions and ecosystem components.
Social and cultural factors are the foremost drivers for the Project and inform all aspects. Winchelsea Mining has consulted with the community and a broad range of stakeholders, have analysed the potential social and community impacts, and designed the Project and its commitments to firstly prevent adverse impacts and secondly maximise the flow of benefits to the Groote Archipelago communities.
The mining operation is relatively compact when compared with other surface mines of similar capacity, resulting in a much-reduced environmental footprint.
Mine rehabilitation for the project site is planned to proceed in step with mining activities to limit the disturbed mining area at any time. Emphasis will be placed on early rehabilitation of surface features to minimise the visual impact of the Project on its surrounds.
The mining operation is relatively compact when compared with other surface mines of similar capacity, resulting in a much-reduced environmental footprint. Topsoil will be stockpiled and stored for progressive rehabilitation. Final landform profiles will be shaped and seeded where necessary to minimise erosion and surface water runoff.
Further work is being undertaken to validate economic benefits, however initial designs of ponds once ore extraction has been conducted is being placed into mine design packages.