Why an EIS?

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a report that assesses the feasibility of a project by conducting thorough technical studies of potential environmental, social and economic impacts, and proposes feasible ways to manage them.

EIS Terms of Reference

The Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NTEPA) released Terms of Reference for the Nolans Project EIS in May 2015. The Terms of Reference outlines all matters required to be addressed in the EIS.

Nolans Project EIS

In recognition of the unique set of challenges posed by developing a rare earths project in Central Australia, Arafura commenced cultural heritage and baseline environmental studies at the Nolans site in 2006. The scope and intensity of these studies varied over time to reflect the availability of resources and development timeline. In February 2015 Arafura appointed GHD, one of the world's leading professional service companies, to coordinate the balance of the environmental studies and write the draft EIS. GHD has been assisted by specialist consultants in the areas of social impact assessment, economic analysis, groundwater sustainability, radiation management and cultural heritage.

The draft EIS was lodged with the NTEPA in May 2016 and was subject to an eight-week public review period. Individual chapters that comprise the main EIS document as well as the supporting technical appendices can be downloaded below. Twenty stakeholder groups submitted over 500 comments to the NTEPA during the public review. Sixteen of these groups were Northern Territory and Australian Government agencies.

Arafura prepared responses to these comments, and lodged a comprehensive supplement to the draft EIS with the NTEPA in February 2017. The NTEPA requested further data and information to better inform its assessment process, and following the commissioning and completion of additional focused studies during mid-2017, Arafura submitted a report in late-October that encompassed both the February 2017 supplement report and data from the additional technical studies. The supplement to the draft EIS as well as the supporting technical appendices can be downloaded below.

The NTEPA completed its environmental impact assessment of the Nolans Project in December 2017. Its findings are contained in an Assessment Report (that includes recommendations) as advice to the Northern Territory Ministers for Environment and Natural Resources, and Primary Industry and Resources, for consideration in environmental approval decisions to be made by the Northern Territory Government.

The NTEPA's report was provided to the Australian Government's Department of the Environment and Energy to inform its assessment and approvals process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The DoEE completed its assessment and granted an approval to Arafura in May 2018 subject to 14 conditions. Its approval decision can be viewed here.

Subsequent changes to the planned configuration of the Nolans Project required the completion of a Section 14A variation under the Northern Territory’s Environmental Assessment Administrative Procedures. This was submitted to the NTEPA in June and August 2019 and can be downloaded below. The NTEPA assessed the variation and in a Statement of Reasons document released in September 2019 determined that no further action is required.

Draft EIS Report

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Volume 5

Volume 6

EIS Supplement

Section 14A Notification


Document Size
Section 14A Report [2.87 MB]

EIS Enquiries

For more information on the Nolans Project EIS, please email arafura@arultd.com.