Legacy mine rehabilitation

Mining has been an important industry for the Northern Territory (NT) for more than 150 years.

The final stage in mining operations is closure and rehabilitation or remediation.

Mine rehabilitation is the process of repairing the impacts of mining activity on the environment.

The long-term objectives of rehabilitation can vary from simply making the site safe and stable condition, to creating a landscape that can support future uses of the land. These include returning it to agricultural land or identifying new beneficial uses.

Mining that occurred many years ago may not have been rehabilitated to the high environmental standards we expect today.

The rehabilitation of the former Rum Jungle Mine in the 1980s is an example of where it was not done to today's standard.

In 2009, further rehabilitation works started under a federal funding agreement. Read more about the Rum Jungle rehabilitation project.


Mining operators must pay a security and an annual levy.

The security will be used by the NT Government for the mine’s rehabilitation if the mining operator doesn't properly rehabilitate the site.

The levy is used to support the Mining Remediation Fund which funds works to minimise the impacts and risks caused by legacy mining.

Read more about the security and levy.

Current projects

The following major projects are underway:

Sites under investigation

Work is currently underway to identify legacy sites.

It will then be used to prioritise future planning and expenditure.

The following areas are sites where:

  • some assessments were undertaken and
  • remediation works may be prioritised in the near future.

This former exploration site is now within the Kakadu National Park and is important to Traditional Owners.

Both the NT and federal governments are exploring options to remediate this site.

This site shares a boundary with Kakadu National Park and the Little Mary River.

It's being investigated to find out if there:

  • is water contamination from the crushed ore stockpile
  • are risks to public safety from the open shafts.

The site where Cosmos Howley Mine is located has been mined since the 1800s.

It now includes current and legacy mine features.

The current operator is not legally responsible for the remediation of legacy mine features.

The site is being reviewed for possible remediation of these features within the operational mine.


For more information, email lmu.ditt@nt.gov.au or read about the Legacy Mines unit.

Last updated: 24 October 2022

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!