Gold leads exploration expenditure in the NT


Mineral exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory is booming with December quarter figures of $45 million up 38 per cent on the previous period in 2020.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, this is the highest quarterly spend on mineral exploration since 2012.

For the 2021 calendar year, mineral exploration expenditure in the NT was $153.4 million, up 38 per cent on the figure of $110.8 million for 2020.

Minister for Mining and Industry Nicole Manison said the territory’s potential mining projects are expected to create up to 5000 construction jobs and 3500 ongoing jobs.

“The Territory Labor Government remain focused on securing investment opportunities for the Territory, and creating more local jobs,” she said.

“We have just announced $3 million in resource and mining grant funding available now, under our turbo charged Resourcing the Territory initiative.

“Our message is clear, if you are looking for the next resource development, come to the Territory.”

Gold remains the most sought-after commodity in the Territory, accounting for $78.2 million of the expenditure, with activity strongly increasing for copper, lithium and uranium exploration as well.

According to the government, there are already 20 mining projects working towards a Final Investment Decision (FID) in the Territory with a combined value of over $6 billion.

The exploration boom is projected to continue in 2022, with strong commodity prices and a very strong uptake in mineral exploration licences in the Territory in 2021.

During 2021, 444 new applications for mineral exploration licences were received, 278 were granted and only 61 licences ceased.

Last month, the Northern Territory Government opened a record $3 million round of grants for the Geophysics and Drilling Collaborations program, addressing knowledge gaps and increasing exploration.

The program forms part of the Resourcing the Territory initiative which will also be expanded to $9.5 million per year from July 1, 2022.

Minerals Council of Australia Northern Australia executive director Cathryn Tilmouth said the Territory is well placed to provide essential mineral commodities to the world, and benefit from the subsequent investment in jobs and infrastructure, especially in remote and regional areas.

“The minerals sector remains a vital contributor the Territory, and as projects move ahead, their successes will attract further investment in exploration,” she said.

“The increase in uptake of tenements following data released from the Geoscience Australia Exploring for the Future program, highlights how important these initiatives, such as the Resourcing the Territory program, are to attracting investment to the Territory.”

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