Environmental
Overview

AIR operates exploration activities in accordance with the EPA environmental practices and principles. AIR endeavours to minimise the environmental impact of its activities and has developed environmental best practice policies for personnel and contractors.

The environmental management plan has been developed in accordance with industry best practice and reviewed by an independent specialist consultant.

The plan covers all exploration and operational activities associated with the Project. The objectives of the plan are to:

  • ●  Define the statutory obligations that must be fulfilled;

  • ●  Present a range of specific environmental management actions necessary to meet the requirements of the environmental assessment process;

  • ●  Provide a clear framework for effective environmental management during construction and operational activities on the project;

  • ●  Assign clear and appropriate responsibilities for the implementation of specific environmental undertakings;

  • ●  Specify monitoring regimes to enable assessment of environmental performance; and

  • ●  Facilitate self-assessment to ensure that mitigation measures are implemented.

Rehabilitation

Historical exploration activities conducted within the Project Area have had a low to moderate-impact on the environment. Therefore, limited rehabilitation has been required to date given the low level of ground intrusion.

Under the Mining Management Act 2001 (NT) (‘MMA’) a rehabilitation security is required for the authorisation of any activity (exploration, mining or extractive) that creates a substantial disturbance to the activity site. Securities are calculated by the DME through reference to the level of likely disturbance for each site. The Northern Territory Government also imposes a nonrefundable annual levy on operators carrying out activities authorised under the MMA of 1% of the amount of the rehabilitation security for the mining operation. This levy was introduced in June 2013.

Approvals and compliance

AIR has obtained all environmental and related approvals required for exploration work completed to date, including:

  • ●  All fauna/flora studies;

  • ●  Heritage and sacred site surveys; and Recognition of restricted work areas.

Key environmental considerations

The primary environmental considerations for the Project are:

  • ●  Extraction of water from the Roper River;

  • ●  Impact on downstream water quality;

  • ●  Rehabilitation of mined/explored areas; and Potential impacts to threatened species.

Water management

Source

Water for the Project is sourced from the Roper River, pumped via a pipeline 12 kilometres south to the processing plant. Currently, the Project has approvals to pump 1.65 GL of water. These approvals are for the duration of the MMP.

Map of the pipeline and access road

Downstream water quality

Water for the Project is sourced from the Roper River, pumped via a pipeline 12 kilometres south to the processing plant. Currently, the Project has approvals to pump 1.65 GL of water. These approvals are for the duration of the MMP.

Rehabilitation

Current land managers, in consultation with traditional owners, suggested the rehabilitation program focus on reinstating pasture species in disturbed areas post mining works.

Mined areas have been rehabilitated in a co-ordinated program between AIR staff and station managers in order to develop the area as a perennial grass rangeland for cattle grazing. Native grasses, small shrubs and trees will also be encouraged.

Threatened species

Flora and Fauna surveys were conducted within and adjacent to the MLs. With the fauna trapping program a total of 526 trap nights resulted in 52 captures of 13 species. An additional 27 species were recorded as incidental records. Two recorded species are considered threatened under the TPWC Act: the Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis) and Mertens’ Water Monitor (Varanus mertensi).

The flora survey recorded 92 species which represented 37% of the recorded plant diversity of the local area, implying low regional plant diversity. Environmental consultants believe it is unlikely that threatened or migratory species will be affected by this development. Refer to the PER for further detail.