EIS Supplement released
The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Ichthys LNG Project has been delivered to the Australian and Northern Territory governments for assessment and addresses community concerns over key aspects of the proposed development, INPEX President Director Australia Seiya Ito said today.
The final EIS includes a Supplement in which the Project responds to all submissions received during the 8-week public review period for the Draft EIS, held from July to September 2010.
The Supplement also provides a wide range of additional technical studies undertaken to add to the understanding of the environment and to confirm many of the conclusions in the Draft EIS regarding the Project’s anticipated environmental impact.
The final EIS was developed through a comprehensive program of technical research and modelling, as well as extensive consultation with relevant government agencies, non-government organisations, and with the broader community.
“The safety of all those associated with our business and protection of the environment remain our primary focus in designing the Ichthys LNG Project,” Mr Ito said.
“In responding to submissions received on the Draft EIS, we have revisited key elements of the Project to ensure we have committed to the best outcomes for the Project and the community.”
Changes made as a result of this process include:
- Plans to remove the ridge of hard rock blocking the proposed shipping channel in the East Arm of Darwin Harbour using new dredging technology that eliminates the need for marine blasting.
- Reducing the overall dredge volume by one million cubic metres. Dredging undertaken over a longer time period combined with techniques that reduce potential sedimentation in sensitive areas will also be implemented.
Mr Ito said the Project planned to support savannah fire management projects in the Northern Territory designed to partially offset greenhouse gas emissions.
“Fire management has been identified by the Northern Territory Government as a real opportunity for emission reductions and biodiversity protection,” Mr Ito said. “By working with the traditional owners, fire management initiatives also offer significant opportunities for Aboriginal economic development.”
The Project has also committed to a number of long-term research programs, including into understanding better the numbers and habits of coastal dolphins, extensive water quality monitoring, and further investigations into harbour ecosystems.
New studies of the impact of sediment loads on barramundi and mud crabs show no impacts are expected on recreational fisheries in Darwin Harbour and Shoal Bay.
The Australian and Northern Territory government’s environmental agencies will now independently consider the final EIS and prepare assessment reports and recommendations for consideration by their respective Ministers. A decision on the environmental acceptability of the Project and any conditions of approval will follow.
“We will continue to work hard to ensure the Ichthys LNG Project delivers substantial economic and social benefits to the Northern Territory and Australia without compromising excellence in environmental stewardship.”