Deep in the Gulf of Carpentaria, a waste rock pile has been smouldering for seven months, causing large smoke plumes and angering Aboriginal groups.
Traditional owners also fear corrosive acids from the McArthur River mine, one of the world's largest producers of zinc, lead and silver, could spread into the water catchment during the wet season.
The groups are demanding its owner, Swiss company Glencore, stop the smoke plume immediately.
Glencore said it was trying to extinguish the fire but could not say when it would be out.
It is working on a new report into how it is going to address the problem, but that could take two years to complete.
The closest community is Borroloola, about 70 kilometres from the mine and 970 kilometres south-east of Darwin.
Senior Garawa man Jack Green from the Borroloola area said he feared the potentially damaging health consequences of the large smoke plumes.
"It doesn't hurt people from outside," he said. "But it hurts the Aboriginal people who are from this land."Rock 'self-combusted' and has not yet been extinguished
The company says the rock pile began spontaneously combusting in December when pyrite iron sulphide was placed into its top layers.
When the volatile mineral met oxygen while covered over by other rocks it started igniting in oven-like conditions and now constantly belches from the mine's waste rock pile.
The miner has been trying to manage the problem by coating the rocks with lime and clay but could not give a deadline for when the combustion would stop.
It said it had managed to stop combustion of new pyrite waste rock it is depositing into the waste rock site by layering it in much shallower tiers and immediately covering them with clay.
It said it was still working on the material that had already been laid down on the top of the rock pile.
The McArthur River Mine said it discharges no water from its site into surrounding waterways "except under approved conditions" and all discharges meet Australian water quality standards.
Its monitoring program showed McArthur River and Surprise Creek fish are safe to eat, the company said.Fears wet season downpour could spread problem
David James Harvey, a Yanyuwa man, said he was angry at what the impact on the environment could be if the problem was not addressed soon.
"Our generation and our grandfathers been fighting for this country to keep it together now they've come and destroyed this country," Mr Harvey said.
It is not the first time traditional owners from the area have clashed with the mine.
In 2007 and 2008, they won Supreme and Federal Court cases against Northern Territory and Federal Government plans to allow the mine's former owners to plough through the Rainbow Serpent Dreaming site and the McArthur River, before the court decisions were overruled.
Another Garawa man, Keith Rory, said he was worried about what the mine could do to the McArthur River if the combustion was not stopped.
When iron sulphide meets water it becomes corrosive sulphuric acid.
"If you get a big rain, a very big one, that will vanish down," Mr Rory said.
"Where is is going to go? To the creeks and down this river."New EIS could be two years away
The chair of the NT's Environment Protection Authority, Dr Bill Freeland, said the company recognised the risk of damaging the environment.
The company had been asked to carry out another Environmental Impact Statement to show how it is going to address the problem.
"If it was allowed to continue and the mine continued producing waste rock and it was not managed, the potential for harm for the whole McArthur River and potentially out into the seagrass beds in the Pellew Islands is potentially significant," Dr Freeland said.
The EIS could take two years to complete.