Updated: March 06, 2012
Territory environment groups welcome moratorium on seabed mining
The Wilderness Society Inc.
6 March 2012
Leading Territory environment groups including the Australian Marine Conservation Society, the Environment Centre NT and The Wilderness Society, today welcomed the Northern Territory government’s announcement of a moratorium on seabed mining in NT waters.
“This is an excellent first step towards safeguarding our sealife,” said Mr Jess Abrahams from the Australian Marine Conservation Society in Darwin.
“Open cut strip mining of the Territory’s seabed would devastate the feeding grounds of our fish, turtles, dolphins and dugongs.”
“The moratorium is a win-win-win. It protects the environment, protects Aboriginal sea country and it protects important fish breeding habitat”.
An increasing number of inter-state companies had been gearing up to explore and mine the Territory seabed for heavy metals like manganese. Today’s announcement by Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis will put a halt on seabed exploration and mining in Territory waters until 2015, pending the outcome of a comprehensive assessment by the EPA.
“We congratulate the government on the moratorium, but they must now make the ban permanent. We need laws that forever rule out this damaging and dangerous activity.”
“We’ve seen Land Councils stand united against this, we’ve seen [recreational] fishers object and environment groups have long been opposed to this new mining frontier.”
“With seabed exploration and mining halted, the government must now place a moratorium on oil and gas exploration and drilling in sensitive marine areas like the mouth of Darwin Harbour, in nearby Bynoe Harbour, and off National Parks like Cobourg and Kakadu.
“The government must announce reserves for special marine areas where these destructive industrial activities are permanently banned.”
Jess Abrahams, Northern Marine Campaigner: 0407 043 457
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Inc