The Northern Territory Mines Minister has announced the Government will soon ask for tenders for an independent environmental monitor for the McArthur River Mine.
Mines Minister Chris Natt made the monitor a condition for approving the diversion of the McArthur River for five kilometres, to allow for an expanded open-cut lead and zine mine.
Environment Centre Northern Territory spokesman Charles Roche says his group was consulted about the role of the monitor early this year.
But he says there has been no follow-up since then.
“As far as I know, MRM [McArthur River Mine] will still be making most of the decisions about what is monitored,” he said.
“So at that stage, we saw there was still a real lack of independence for the monitoring program, and hopefully that’s been rectified.”
Mr Roche says when he last saw the project two months ago, most of the land clearing had already been done.
“I am concerned that by only starting in November 2007, that whoever the successful tenderer will be won’t have the baseline information that’s required to monitor this mine and river diversion effectively,” he said.
He says Justice John Mansfield has adjourned a decision on whether the Environment Protection and Conservation Act was followed properly.
“If a decision is made in favour of the plaintiffs, then we would expect that the approval for the mine would once again be declared invalid as it was earlier this year, and all work at the mine and the river diversion would have to cease,” he said.