Biggest Ever Legacy Mines contract: Boost for Jobs, Boost for the Environment

NT Government

The largest contract ever awarded by the NT Government’s Legacy Mines Unit will see six months’ worth of work undertaken in the Tennant Creek region to address safety risks from historical mining activities.

The $4 million contract represents a major boost to the local Tennant Creek economy and Territory jobs.

This contract has been awarded to D.A.C Enterprises Pty Ltd.

Mining has been an important part of the Northern Territory’s history for over 150 years. Remediation is a normal part of a mines life cycle, and operators must now pay a security to ensure sites are rehabilitated. This should prevent any future legacy mines.

However, historical mining has left legacy mine features throughout the Territory such as shafts, degraded infrastructure, tailings dams, and waste rock dumps.

To date, over 900 legacy mine features and legacy mines have been identified across the Territory. While there is a large number of legacy mines, a majority of these are small – for example an isolated mineshaft. Relatively few are complex mines sites with significant environmental impacts.

The Legacy Mines Unit has implemented the Small Mines Safety Program to address risks to public safety from historical mining activities, such as open shafts. These works are funded through an annual levy on the security paid by mining operators.

An audit of 71 small mines around Tennant Creek was undertaken in 2022, identifying 344 legacy features. The audit included a risk assessment to informed remediation recommendations to reduce potential risks.

A tender for works to address these risks closed earlier this year, with the proposed works include:

Backfilling 150 open mine voidsInstalling 34 covers over open mine shaftsInstalling grates over 32 adit openingsInstalling fencing at 14 locations to prevent accessCapping 48 open drill holesMinor maintenance and waste removal works

These works are funded through the 1% annual levy on mining securities – paid by mining companies in the Northern Territory – to support the Mining Remediation Fund.

In November 2022, a contract was awarded to Darwin based company EcOz Environmental Consultants to audit over 600 small mines across the Territory over a 3 year period.

In 2023, audits were undertaken around Alice Springs and Pine Creek, the risk assessments and reporting for these areas is being finalised. This year, the audits will focus on the Katherine region.

Following completion of the risk assessment and reporting for Alice Springs and Pine Creek, planning can commence for remediation works to minimise the risk from these small mine features.

Quotes attributable to Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade CEO Shaun Drabsch :

“The Territory Government is committed to delivering the legacy mines program of work to address the impacts from past mining activities.

“As part of that, remediating legacy mines is critical to protect the environment and the public from negative impacts.

“This is the largest contract ever awarded by the Legacy Mines Unit, which will not only see significant remediation works occur, but will provide an economic boost to the region.”

Northern Territory Government

/Public Release. View in full here.