The Northern Territory will take advantage of the $225 million Exploring for the Future program to capitalise on the untapped mineral potential in the region.
The program, led by Geoscience Australia, saw $100 million invested in 2016 to the resources and agriculture sectors and an expansion of $125 million was added last June.
GeoscienceAustralia will take the Australian Government’s roadmap for resources and critical minerals and apply it to projects across the north-east of Australia
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said previous barriers to the region have been broken down by the program’s funding.
“The biggest technical challenge for the Australian mineral resources sector is how to effectively and efficiently explore for minerals concealed deep undercover,” he said.
“This area east of Tennant Creek has seen little mineral exploration because of the expense and risk of searching beneath the overlying sediments.
Initial drilling in the Barkly Tableland near Tennant creek reported strong potential for minerals, especially copper and gold.
Pitt said the industry should be excited about the prospect of this under explored region.
“This project will shed light on potential untapped deposits of zinc, lead and silver, as well as copper, cobalt and gold in the Barkly-Isa-Georgetown region,” Pitt said.
“We will also try to find new sources of uranium, rare earth elements and critical minerals, building on the work we did in this area in the first phase of the program.”
Other projects among the program’s eight new additions include the Officer-Musgrave region between Kalgoorlie and Alice Springs, and the Darling-Curnamona-Delamerian region between Adelaide, Bendigo and the Queensland border.
Pitt said there is so much potential for further exploration and financial success in Australia.
“We have already seen the value of the geological data from the first stage of the Exploring for the Future program, with more than 20 resource companies taking up new investments in over 120,000 square kilometres of exploration acreage across Queensland and the Northern Territory,” Pitt said.
“Independent analysis of the first stage of the program from ACIL Allen Consulting found it could drive up to $2.5 billion in economic benefits and jobs in northern Australia.”
Senator for the Northern Territory Sam McMahon said the program has the potential to create incredible revenue and job opportunities.
“This second phase of the program is great news because it opens up the opportunity for hundreds of job opportunities across the territory but particularly for the Barkly region,” she said.
“The Northern Territory needs to take advantage of its natural resources and this program will allow that to happen and be of benefit to not just the Top End but the entire country.”