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Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct

We're transforming Middle Arm Peninsula into a globally competitive, sustainable precinct to propel advanced manufacturing, gas-based processing, hydrogen production and critical minerals processing in the Territory, supported by diverse clean energy solutions.

The Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct is an un-matched strategic opportunity that combines abundant critical inputs, ideal proximity to market and competitive decarbonisation solutions.

The precinct vision harnesses the Territory’s competitive edge and is bolstering it with world-class common user infrastructure and recognised expertise to attract low-emission energy production, advanced manufacturing and minerals processing industries to call the Territory’s Middle Arm Precinct home.

The precinct ecology is founded on low-emission, cohesive industries of national and global significance, with:

  • low-emissions fuel production including hydrogen and methanol
  • liquefied natural gas export expansion as a low-emissions transition fuel
  • low-emission petrochemicals production, including ammonia, urea and ethylene
  • critical minerals vital for emerging technology
  • refined products to reinforce national supply chain security.

The sustainable precinct master plan is integrated with net zero commitments ensuring the precinct is carbon capture and renewables ready, with deliberate clustering, size and scale efficiencies to maximise integration, and embed circular economy principles.

Circular economy principles will empower precinct sectors to move past linear ‘take-make-waste’ models to collectively reuse, repair or repurpose waste and by-products (such as energy, heat, water or materials) to maximise productivity.

Preserving Darwin’s environmental values, including the Darwin Harbour, is critical to meeting the sustainable objectives and vision of the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct.

Precinct realisation will deliver significant, sustainable and diverse economic growth for Territorians for decades to come.

Middle Arm Precinct map - artist impression

  • The Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct is a central site where industrial activities can be appropriately undertaken ensuring sustainability and commerciality of the precinct.

    The Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct will optimise net zero transitions and sustainable outcomes across large-scale, integrated industrial sectors, in ways which drive economic growth.

    The foundation for precinct master planning is its natural comparative advantages, supported with a strong evidence base and sustainability design principles such as:

    • contribution to net zero emissions, including renewable energy use to the maximum extent
    • efficient water use, including reuse where possible
    • circular economy principles.

    The precinct will enable strong industry collaboration across common user infrastructure, critical inputs and proximal support networks to realise shared economic, social, environmental, cultural and governance outcomes.

    Sustainable outcomes and environmental protection of Darwin Harbour and surrounds are at the core of planning for the precinct.

  • The Northern Territory Government commenced precinct planning in 2019 to realise the potential of the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct.

    Master planning is a strategic approach to project development that optimises efficiency, lowers investment risk and supports a streamlined approach to decision making.

    It is driving the sustainable precinct vision across the 1,200 hectare precinct, incorporating the Kittyhawk Estate and Spitfire Estate.

    The master plan is integrated with net zero commitments, ensuring the precinct is carbon capture and renewables ready, with deliberate clustering, size and scale efficiencies and circular economy principles.

    We have teams of people focused on collaborative planning, commercialisation and infrastructure development requirements, this includes:

    • over 200 studies to inform multi-user foundational infrastructure design and business case development
    • determining industry requirements, infrastructure marine, geotechnical and services assessments and marine navigation
    • engaging with the major oil and gas companies, hydrogen and other proponents about investment opportunities
    • mapping the industrial ecology that will create the greatest value
    • delivering project finance assessment and economic models to commercialise development
    • supporting ecosystem readiness including land access and availability, zoning regulations, tenure options and optimal industry clusters aligned to emerging supply and demand
    • identification of opportunities to minimise, recycle and re-use waste.

    Master planning is a proven approach to deliver strong environment, economic, social, cultural and governance (EESCG) outcomes.

    Construction of shared infrastructure is expected to begin in 2025, upon successful completion of environmental approvals.

  • Environmental considerations are paramount in planning for the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct. Baseline investigations are underway, including identifying the diversity of plants and animals, marine environmental values, and air and water quality data to inform planning to protect environmental values during any future development.

    Preserving Darwin’s environmental values, including Darwin Harbour, is critical to meeting the sustainable objectives of the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct.

    These activities mark the first stages of an assessment process that will occur over a number of years, to ensure the project reduces, mitigates and offsets potential environmental impacts.

    Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority referral
    The project has been referred to the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority (NT EPA), as required under the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Act 2019.

    Feedback on the referral was sought through the NT EPA website, which concluded on 10 June 2022.

    Strategic Environmental Assessment 
    The Northern Territory Government signed a Strategic Environmental Assessment Agreement with the Australian Government under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This aligns with, but is separate from the referral to the NT EPA.

    Strategic assessments consider a broad set of development activities over a larger scale and timeframe to provide certainty for both industry and community.

    This is a holistic and efficient approach, assessing cumulative impacts rather than individual projects assessments in isolation, providing greater certainty for industry and delivering better environmental outcomes.

    The assessment will:

    • consider the competitive advantage of the precinct
    • consider scenarios of development and the implications for issues such as land clearing, water and energy use, emissions and discharges and infrastructure needs
    • determine the potential cumulative biophysical, economic, social, cultural and health impacts
    • provide advice on the most appropriate projects that might be approved and conditions that should apply to project-level approvals
    • recommend governance structures, such as management of the precinct, conditions that should apply to individual projects and ongoing monitoring and management of all potential impacts
    • outline desired sustainability outcomes and how they are best achieved.

    The draft Terms of Reference for the Strategic Environmental Assessment were open for public comment through the Have Your Say website which concluded on 10 June 2022.

    A range of community activities will be held to capture feedback which is a key component of the Strategic Environmental Assessment. The draft assessment is due for submission during the first half of 2023 and will also be placed on public exhibition for stakeholder comment

    Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
    The EIS is a document used to systematically identify environmental impacts from a proposed development, including all surroundings of humans including physical, biological, economic, cultural and social aspects.

    The statement will consider how the precinct may impact the land, sea, air, freshwater systems, people and how matters of national environmental significance will be impacted.

    A single EIS can be used for the Northern Territory and Australian Government environment assessment and approval processes which provides a streamlined public exhibition and feedback process.

    The NT EPA will consider public submissions on the project referral and the draft terms of reference before deciding whether assessment by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required

    Airshed model development
    Over 500 local businesses who produce emissions in Greater Darwin have been invited to contribute in development of an airshed model for the region as part of air quality management planning.

    The model will be informed by data obtained from light industrial business data submissions and heavy industry mandatory emission reporting through the NT EPA. The airshed model will:

    • establish an emissions baseline reflecting the current status of emissions-producing activities
    • demonstrate which pollutants exist and where, and help assess optimal new industry locations
    • support industrial development planning by measuring the effects of additional emitting activities
    • assist with regulating emissions from heavy industry
    • plan the regional monitoring network by understanding where air quality is being impacted.
  • The circa 1,200 hectare Middle Arm peninsula was first identified as a future industry area in 1984 as part of the Darwin Regional Land Use Plan.

    It is optimally positioned linking land, air, sea, road, rail, gas and power corridors with ideal proximity to the rapidly expanding markets of Asia.

    The precinct has an extensive product corridor network for the transmission of utilities, gas, feedstock and products. All lots will be serviced with power, water and communications infrastructure. There is also potential for high and low pressure gas to be reticulated throughout the estate.

    Planning is underway for enabling infrastructure, including marine infrastructure, such as modular off-loading and common user facilities to support the construction of potential new plants, as well as ship loading facilities to support the export of the product from these plants. Land based infrastructure would include roads, drainage, power, water and telecommunications services, as well as provisions for product corridors into and within the precinct.

    The precinct also benefits from two power stations in Channel Island and Weddell, which are well situated to support emerging industry requirements.

    Further enabling infrastructure priorities include:

    • head works – water transmission from the Strauss treatment facility, gas pipeline and high voltage direct current (HVDC) for renewables ready product corridors
    • servicing infrastructure – roads (self-propelled modular transporters compatible), power, water, drainage and product corridors (feedstock, product and by-product reticulation)
    • marine infrastructure - loading wharf, module offloading facility, dredged channel and berthing pocket.

    The Land Development Corporation proposes to develop two estates at the precinct:

    • Kittyhawk Estate – Stage one of this 300 hectare estate has commenced construction.
    • Spitfire Estate – This 300 hectare estate will be developed as demand requires. civil development progress

    View the civil development progress at stage one of Kittyhawk Estate

  • Draft master plan development will include a robust approach to engaging and collaborating with stakeholders. Stakeholders can register interest by emailing: Contact.MASDP@nt.gov.au.

    The culmination of master planning activities will be realised in the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct Prospectus estimated for release in 2022. Register your interest by emailing: GasTaskforce.CMC@nt.gov.au

Planning the Middle Arm Sustainable Development precinct

A globally competitive, sustainable precinct with a focus on low emissions advanced manufacturing, petrochemicals, renewable hydrogen, carbon capture storage and minerals.

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