Water extraction licences for mining and petroleum activities

The Water Act 1992 applies to mining and petroleum activities.

To use surface water or groundwater you will need to comply with the Water Act 1992.

A transition period is in place to enable mining and petroleum activities to move into the water extraction licensing regime under the Water Act 1992 within a reasonable timeframe.

For the transition period to apply, the mine or environment management plan must have been:

  • approved before 1 July 2019 or
  • submitted for approval before 1 July 2019 and then approved with no change.

The transition period does not apply to hydraulic fracturing activities.

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Surface water extraction licence

Mining and petroleum activities need a surface water extraction licence if taking water that is flowing or contained in a waterway (for example a river, creek, lake or dam) and:

  • you are engaged in hydraulic fracturing activities
  • you do not have a mine management plan or environmental management plan that was approved before 1 July 2019
  • you have an approved plan, and want to increase the volume of water taken
  • your approved plan has expired or
  • you want to change your approved plan.

A surface water extraction licence is not required for clean water diverted around a mine site.

Ground water extraction licence

Mining and petroleum activities need a groundwater extraction licence if taking water from a bore that is greater than three metres deep and:

  • the water is for hydraulic fracturing activities
  • you do not have a mine management plan or environmental management plan that was approved before 1 July 2019
  • you have an approved plan, but want to increase the volume of water taken
  • your approved plan has expired
  • you want to change your approved plan or
  • you are using water for operational use and mine dewatering.

A groundwater extraction licence is not required for extraction of water from an active mine pit via an in-pit sump.

Read more about exemptions.

To apply for a licence you must complete a surface water or groundwater application form and submit the form with all the required information to water.licensing@nt.gov.au

To identify any previously authorised water entitlement, applications must include any relevant, previous or current:

  • Mining Management Plan or
  • Environment Management Plan

to identify previously authorised water entitlements.

Applications submitted without all of the required information will be returned.

Read more about applying for a water extraction licence, and the application forms, at NT.GOV.AU website.

You can submit a completed and signed application form, with all the required supporting information either by:

  • email to water.licensing@nt.gov.au or
  • post to:
    Water Resources Division
    Licensing and Regulation Branch
    PO Box 496
    Palmerston NT 0831

Contact Water Resources Division for more information.

Phone: 08 8999 4455 during business hours
Email: water.licensing@nt.gov.au

You can view the printable version PDF (548.7 KB) of this information.

Last updated: 23 April 2020

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