Environmental Impact Statement

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

Complete Document

Executive Summary

Abbreviations, Glossary and Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Regulatory Context

Chapter 3: Project Description

Chapter 4: Project Alternatives and Cumulative Impacts

Chapter 5: Risk Assessment

Chapter 6: Consultation

Chapter 7: Surface Water

Chapter 8: Groundwater

Chapter 9: Biodiversity

Chapter 10: Protected Matters under the EPBC Act

Chapter 11: Human Health and Safety

Chapter 12: Radiation

Chapter 13: Air Quality

Chapter 14: Noise and Vibration

Chapter 15: Socio-economics

Chapter 16: Heritage

Chapter 17: Traffic and Transport

Chapter 18: Rehabilitation, Decommissioning and Closure

Chapter 19: References

Appendix A: Terms of Reference

Appendix B: EPBC Advisory Notice

Appendix D: Cross Reference to Terms of Reference

Appendix E: Storage Facility Design Drawings

Appendix F: Risk Register (Environmental)

Appendix G: Risk Register (Social)

Appendix H: Community Consultation Report

Appendix I: Surface Water Report

Appendix J: Flotation TSF Failure Impact Assessment

Appendix K: Ground Water Report

Appendix L: Acid, Metalliferous Drainage Report

Appendix C: Environmental Impact Statement Team

Appendix M: Biodiversity – Flora and Vegetation Report

Appendix N: Biodiversity – Fauna and Threatened Species Report

Appendix O: Human Health and Safety Report

Appendix P: Radiation Report

Appendix Q: Air Report

Appendix R: Noise Report

Appendix S: Social Impact Assessment

Appendix T: Economic Impact Report

Appendix U: Indigenous and Historic Cultural Heritage Assessment

Appendix V: Transport Report

Appendix W: Rehabilitation, Decommissioning and Closure Report

Appendix X: Environmental Management Plan

Appendix X_C: Air and Dust Management Plan

Appendix X_D: Biodiversity Management Plan

Appendix X_E: Cultural Heritage Management Plan

Appendix X_F: Emergency Response Management Plan

Appendix X_G: Fire Management Plan

Appendix X_H: Hazardous Substances Management Plan

Appendix X_I: Waste Management Plan

Appendix X_J: Radiation Management Plan

Appendix X_K: Social Impact Management Plan

Appendix X_L: Water Management Plan

Appendix X_M: Weed Management Plan

EIS Supplement


Supplementary Report

Additional Information


Appendix 1: Mine Site Layout Report

Appendix 2: Tailings and Residue Storage Aspects

Appendix 3: Water Resource Assessment

Appendix 4: Water Management Plan Framework

Appendix 5: Environmental Offsets Discussion

Appendix 6: Open Pit Dewatering Report

Appendix 7: Cultural Heritage Management Plan

Appendix 8: Groundwater Model Digital Appendix

Appendix 9: Vegetation of Day Creek

Appendix 10: Groundwater Models

Appendix 11: Risk Assessment: Impact of Groundwater Changes

Appendix 12: Peer Review of GDE Risk Assessment

Appendix 13: Updated Kerosene Camp Creek Alignment Drawings

Appendix 14: Diversion Management Plan

Appendix 15: Stygofauna Pilot Survey

Appendix 16: Responses to Comments on the EIS

Appendix 17: Pump Test Interpretations Memorandum

Section 14A Notification


Section 14A Report

EIS Enquiries

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