Glencore will expand its McArthur River zinc mine against the advice of the Northern Territory sacred sites authority, which says it has not cleared the plan yet.
The territory government's approval will allow Glencore to double the size of the mine, extending McArthur River's productive life until 2048 and secures the jobs of 1100 employees and contractors.
However the Northern Land Council has objected to the approval of an amendment to the existing mine management plan for the McArthur River Mine.
The NT Environment Protection Authority have clearly warned that there is significant environment risk and uncertainty associated with the project, the council has claimed.
Under NT law, companies must have permission from the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority before they can alter or remove any sacred site and on Thursday the Authority said it had rejected the company's application for a certificate requesting more consultation with traditional owners, worried about potential damage to sacred and heritage sites.
In 2018 the NT's Environment Protection Authority found that sacred sites could be damaged by the mine's expansion, but recommended approval on the basis saying further environmental damage would be higher if Glencore left the site.
McArthur River has operated since 1995 and is one of the world's largest zinc mines. It produced 271,200 tonnes of zinc, 55,300 tonnes of lead and 1.67 million ounces of silver in 2019.