The environmental setting within the Groote Archipelago is considered of high ecological value both nationally and internationally with many species of flora and fauna listed as threatened both on land and in the marine environs. The natural systems of the archipelago are considered very sensitive due to the pristine nature of much of the land areas additionally the Gulf’s marine environment is listed as one of the last remaining marine wilderness areas on the planet. If the balance of these systems is jeopardised through poor planning not only is the unique environment threatened but also the traditional lifestyles of the Anindilyakwa people. As such we all have a responsibility to ensure the appropriate management of these systems.
All proponents seeking to operate in the archipelago must comply with a strict regulatory environment that includes conformance within the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Environmental Acts including on larger mining related projects the undertaking of Environmental Impact Statements and Social Impact Assessments for proposed projects. Additionally, the Land Council regulate development and planning via Section 19 leases under NT Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) and cultural approvals are regulated via the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) to control access to Aboriginal cultural heritage places. This level of compliance is necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of all people, flora and fauna. In recent years there has also been an increased awareness of the biosecurity risk posed to Groote by unregulated imports to the archipelago particularly via development projects.
The Land Council via various mining and exploration agreements also review and monitors all planning on exploration and mining leases to ensure that any risks to the environment are minimised and the lifestyle of the local people is maintained wherever possible now and in the future post mining. A key component of managing activities with potential to impact the environment is through direct liaison with senior technical and management staff from the company’s and much of this is undertaken through planned meetings as required under the various agreements.