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Mining runs in the blood of John Tyne and his family. Both his father and grandfather were miners and now John is involved in the industry too. But unlike the previous two generations of his family John is not working directly in mineral extraction. He is a member of the Northern Territory Government’s Alice Springs’ based Central mining team with day-today responsibility for administering the Mining Management Act 2001. In short, John’s job is to ensure mining companies do the right thing by the Territory. “My grandfather was a miner and my dad worked in mines and I saw this as an opportunity to hold mining companies accountable and keeping the Territory in the state that Territorians expect it to be,” says John. As a senior mining officer John has plenty to keep him busy as goes about applying the Territory’s world-class mining regulations. His responsibilities include:

  • Assessing mining management plans
  • Providing advice and recommendations with respect to assessments
  • Regulating mining activities
  • Undertaking remote site inspections, audits and environmental monitoring


“There is probably no typical day for a mining officer. Much of what we do is assessing mining management plans. We are able to assess operators against their plans and hold them to the commitments they have made in those plans. And we make sure the risks to the environment are well managed and that the rehabilitation works postexploration are conducted according to an appropriate standard.”

It is not just the Territory’s eight major mines which keep John and his colleagues busy. They also have responsibility for regulating mining exploration at a time when the Territory is attracting a high level of interest in exploration for the minerals needed as the world transitions to renewable energy technology.

“So, it is important with more explorers that we have the resourcing to regulate them effectively and we are able to get out in the field when we need to inspect sites to audit sites and to make sure that operators are doing the right thing by Territorians. We also do routine visits on various sites just to make sure that the plans are being followed and they are not creating any hazards out there.”

These visits include using drones to help map and photograph areas under exploration. As part of the Territory’s rigorous world-class mining regulation, this work also involves collaboration with other agencies to assess and manage any activities with the potential to create hazards or harm the environment.



Joni Woollard leads the Northern Territory Government’s Legacy Mines Unit, undertaking important rehabilitative work on historic mines.

The work is fully funded from a levy being paid by the mining and resources industry.

Mining has been part of the Territory’s economic lifeblood for more than 150 years.

And while mining companies today must pay a security to ensure sites, they have developed are fully remediated, mining from previous lessregulated times has left legacy mine features throughout the Territory.

“The Territory has a long history of mining, with historical mining activities occurring across the Territory and leaving around 900 legacy mines today,” says Joni.

“The standards and expectations on the mining industry have changed over the last 20-30 years and now all mining operators have to pay a security for any disturbance they cause.

“They also pay a levy that goes towards remediating these legacy mines – which is critical to keep Territorians safe, protecting the environment, and providing employment across our regions.”

Joni says the unit looks at how risks can be mitigated which can involve anything from capping an open mine shaft to addressing historic environmental issues on sites mined decades ago.

“A lot of these features are very old – up to 50 to 80 years old so we need go out on the ground and look at what the condition is what the risks are.

“The cultural impacts are also really important to us as a team, so we keep all stakeholders involved, such as native title holders and the Traditional Owners of the land.

“Going forward we are really excited about expanding the works that we are doing through the small mine safety program across the whole Territory. This will significantly increase public safety and continue to provide employment opportunities, which is doing right by all Territorians.”



In many ways Tony Smith’s is a typical Territory story. But there is nothing typical about Tony Smith himself. Tony has left his fingerprints on some of the Territory’s biggest mining projects.

When Tony first arrived in the Northern Territory his plan was to spend just five weeks here. Almost 50 years later he is still here and still going strong.

A director of NT Link, his company employs 100 people fabricating and supplying demountables for major projects across the Territory and into the West Australian gold fields.

“We have been involved in nearly every major project in the Northern Territory,” Tony says. “It’s a dynamic industry to be in and we’ve been very fortunate that the NT is still a great frontier and Alice Springs still continues to amaze me with the opportunities.”

Most recently those opportunities have included a major accommodation contract at the Nolan’s open-cut mining operation135 km north of Alice Springs where Arafura Rare Earths is extracting two of the world’s most sought-after elements, Neodymium and Praseodymium, both critical components in renewable energy technology.

“We were selected by Arafura to put together a proposal for their construction camp. We’ve now got 200 rooms on site and we’re pretty keen to start the next 300.”

Although it is Alice-Springs based, NT Link’s demountables are fabricated by the company’s 70-strong workforce in Darwin. NT Link is focused on maxmising local content. “We’ve spent in the Arafura project alone just under $3 million in local supply.” But NT Link’s focus isn’t just on the use of Territory suppliers. Tony and his team want to create local employment opportunities too.

“NT Link has always had a DNA within its company of employing locals and in particular local Indigenous kids so that they become a fabric to the town.

“My wife and I have been of the belief that if you utilise the local businesses, they will utilise you. We do that across the board.”



Arafura Rare Earths Nolan’s Project is gearing up to deliver a range of benefits to not just the Red Centre but Australia as a whole.

That’s certainly the way Prime Minister Anthony Albanese sees the project.

In March the Prime Minister announced the Federal Government would invest $840 million to help Arafura deliver the nation’s first rare earths mine and refinery in a bid to secure Australia’s position as what he describes as a “renewable energy superpower”.

As an engagement officer with Arafura Rare Earths Cherry Hayward has a key role in helping securing the workforce to turn this ambitious aspiration into a reality.

Once operational the project is expected to deliver more than 200 new jobs, of which 125 will be full-time on-going.

Arafura also has a stated aim of developing a workforce which will be 20 per cent Indigenous.

Cherry says her main role is to let prospective employees know exactly what they need to do to ready themselves for a role with this pioneering project.

“I need to show people that, yes, Arafura is really dinkum about what they are doing in the community,” she says.

“We’re looking at training programs that we can fit them into. There’s a lot of employment agencies around here and a lot of government departments finding people who really want to come and work for us and help them set up for the future.

“I enjoy working with the mining industry because I can see the potential. I’ve seen how people have come through and how mining has changed the lives of people right across the board. So, I believe that I’m doing the right thing by the community to give those people the best possible opportunity,” says Cherry.