Minamata Convention on mercury - restriction on mining in NSW
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty that seeks to protect human health and the environment from the release of mercury and mercury compounds resulting from human activity. The Convention covers all aspects of the life cycle of mercury including mining, manufacture, disposal and emission from industrial processes.
Australia is a signatory to the Convention and ratified it on 7 December 2021. Countries that have ratified the Convention are bound by international law to control and reduce mercury emissions across a range of products, processes and industries.
Amendments to the Mining Act 1992 in NSW bring the state into alignment with the Commonwealth’s commitments under the Convention. From 21 October 2022, with the commencement of the amendments, it is no longer possible to apply for or be granted an authorisation to mine for mercury in NSW.
Limited defences exist under section 10(4) of the Act for mercury that was mined as a by-product when mining for other minerals under a mining lease.