The moratorium extension on seabed mining, as reported today, is a great win for Territorians, but community groups say only a permanent ban will safeguard our coasts and lifestyle.
Research of the mining industry activity has identified 21 proposals for seabed mining within the coastal environment once the moratorium is lifted. These locations include Anson Bay at the mouth of the Daly River, Limmen Bight Marine Park, Blue Mud Bay and the seas surrounding Galiwin'ku and much of the Wessel Islands.
An alliance of environment and community groups - Keep Our Top End Coasts Healthy (KTECH) - has launched a campaign to secure permanent protection for the coasts and lifestyle from seabed mining, including the production of a short film and map detailing the impacts seabed mining could have on the Top End’s marine environment and envied lifestyle.
The KTECH alliance is calling on the Territory government to ban seabed mining in all NT waters, like the permanent ban around Groote Island.
“Destructive seabed mining is like bulldozing the seafloor. It has never been allowed before in Australia and is a huge risk to our Top End coasts and lifestyle. Seabed mining would decimate our marine life, pollute our waters, threaten our fishing and destroy sites of cultural significance”, said Adele Pedder of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
“This is the third time NT governments have imposed temporary moratoriums on seabed mining, and this together with the extent of NT coastal waters at risk from mining indicate a permanent ban is now needed.
“Mining companies have been lining up to exploit 9,600km2 off the Territory’s coastline, an area almost eight times the size of Darwin Harbour, and they won’t go away until a permanent ban is in place.
"We have documented the industry’s methods in a film that takes people below the waves to see the likely impacts.
"The NT Government is developing the Coastal and Marine Management Strategy, a 10-year plan to safeguard our coasts and seas, which is very welcome. Seabed mining is at odds with the intention of this work.
“Instead of opening up the Top End’s coastal waters to a new destructive activity, we hope the NT Government will choose to secure the health of our coasts - our lifestyle, tourism industry and fishing depends on it.
The Keep Top End Coasts Healthy alliance is calling on the NT Government to use the powers available under the Minerals Titles Act 2010 (NT) to reserve coastal waters from seabed mining indefinitely, as is the case around Groote Eylandt.
Comment: Adele Pedder 0422 108 539, AMCS Marine Campaign Coordinator
A map of locations where seabed mining has already been approved or applications exist can be viewed here and include:
- Anson Bay at the mouth of the Daly River
- Limmen Bight Marine Park
- Blue Mud Bay
- Galiwin’ku and much of the Wessel Islands
- East Van Dieman Gulf
- Bathurst / Melville Islands
- Blue Mud Bay
- Limmen Bight
- Hyland Bay
- Sir Edward Pellew Group - a small area on the Western End
- An area north of Wadeye