The main project proponent on Groote Eylandt to date has been GEMCO, which is jointly owned by South32 Pty Ltd (60%) and Anglo Operations (40%). Currently all mining activity occurs on Groote Eylandt however GEMCO also hold Exploration applications on Bickerton and elsewhere on the adjacent mainland.
In recent years Winchelsea Mining Company Pty Ltd has acquired several Exploration Application leases in the archipelago and has an approved Exploration license for Winchelsea Island. Winchelsea Mining has recently completed a significant exploration program and is seeking to commence mining in the next few years. All mining projects in the archipelago are in the form of manganese mining.
Winchelsea Mining Project
Currently mining is confined to the western side of Groote Eylandt on what are referred to as the Western leases. This is proposed to change in 2023 with plans by South 32 to develop tenements in the Eastern leases which are located to the South East of the current mining. South 32 already hold a Mining Lease over the Eastern leases. South 32 also have plans to hopefully move (with agreement) to mining in the Southern Leases in 2027. The Southern Leases are located in the south-west of Groote Eylandt.
Beyond conventional mining several Extractive Minerals Licenses (EML) are also held in areas on Groote Eylandt which allow for the extraction of laterite gravels, rock and sands. Royalties from this extraction are paid to the owners of the country which being impacted.