Mining Law in the Northern Territory of Australia

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  • Topic: Mining, Prospecting, Mineral exploration
  • Pages : 21 (5812 words )
  • Download(s) : 76
  • Published : December 17, 2011
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Mining law in the Northern Territory is unique. To take into account the variation in land ownership, the NT Government has through the Mineral titles Act developed a legal process to ratinalise a wide range of mining tenements by converting these titles so that they can be more actively explored. The Northern Territory Government recognises that the private sector is the most able developer of mineral resources, and hence through the Mineral Titles Act allows the private sector and open access to develop mineral resources. The Government does not require equity participation, or any other form of direct involvement in mineral development projects.

The Act allows exploration through a mining administration system which is open and unbiased. The guiding principle is that exploration and mining rights are given to any candidate, who by merit, can show that they have the capability to carry out an agreed upon work programme. In the case of multiple applicants rights are allocated to the first qualified applicant. This system supports and protects the rights of all investors, both local and foreign, to prospect, explore and mine their mineral discoveries. Investors rights to mineral tenements, and their security of title are enshrined in the Mineral Resources Act.

Exporation Licence holders who exercise due diligence in carrying out, and comply with the proposed activities detailed in their Licence, including maintaining a vigorous exploration programme, and accurate, timely comprehensive reporting in accordance with the Act, are guaranteed continuity of title, implying a right to proceed to project development. Over time, Licence holders are expected to relinquish a portion of their prospecting area.

Through the Act the Northern Territory Government is very keen to encourage legitimate prospectors and mineral explorers, it does not want to see prospective land tied up by companies that are only interested in speculative ventures.The Act will actively discourage any company attempting to engage in such speculative ventures.

Exploration Licence holders have a right to progress from prospecting to mining if they have complied with the licence conditions and they have proven that a minable resource exists. Exploration licences will be renewed for ongoing periods to provide an incentive to explorers who require more time to develop the site before progressing to the retention or mining conditions of the Act. Another area of considerable interest to attract the private sector to the resource industry in the Northern Territory is the provison for offshore exploration licences. These licences will allow applicants to explore Northern Territory waters up to the 3Nm thus allowing prospecters a greater scope to search for valuable resources.

In conclusion the Northern Territory Government has through the introduction of flexible legislation developed a system of mining regulation which will promote the best outcome for investors,miners,explorers and property owners as well as the general community to maximise the benefits of mineral extraction.

Special Policies and Procedures

3.6 The Director of Mines (henceforth referred to as the Director) at the Mineral Resources Department, grants Prospector's Rights under the Mining Act. With the consent of the Minister, the Director also grants Prospecting Licences, Special Prospecting Licences, Permits to Mine, Mining Leases, Special Mining Leases, Special Site Rights, and Road Access Licences. Applications for any Right, Licence or Lease are considered on their own merit. The criteria for assessing merit are: the expertise and capacity/capability of the applicant to undertake the geological programme, any past record that the prospecting company has in mineral exploration, and the financial standing of the company in terms of its financial ability to undertake the proposed work programme.

3.7 A Prospectors Right allows the holder to prospect for all minerals...
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