The Northern Territory Government has announced that the Territory’s mineral exploration expenditure for 2023 was $228.1 million – the largest the Territory has seen in over a decade.

Expenditure increased 14 per cent from 2022 and fell marginally short of the highest expenditure ever recorded in the Northern Territory, which was $228.4 million in 2011.

The 14 per cent rise from 2022 exploration expenditure to 2023 is above the national average increase of five per cent.

In addition, for the December 2023 quarter, mineral exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory was $63.1 million, up ten per cent on the same quarter in 2022.

The Northern Territory Government said that the demand for critical minerals worldwide continues to drive this growth in exploration, with a large proportion of the expenditure increase attributed to lithium, rare earth elements and other critical minerals.

In March 2024, the Federal Government committed $840 million to help deliver Australia’s first combined rare earths mine and refinery in the Northern Territory.

The refinery is expected to create more than 300 jobs – adding to the 4,400 people already directly employed in the sector which produced $4.86 billion to the Northern Territory economy in 2022-23.

Northern Territory Minister for Mining, Mark Monaghan, said, “Mineral exploration expenditure in the Territory continues to lead the country – and Territorians are the ones set to benefit.

“The Territory Labor Government is capitalising on the Northern Territory’s abundance of critical minerals; our new round of exploration grants focused on companies who were looking for the minerals the world demands.

“There are exciting opportunities for the Territory to become a leading supplier of the critical minerals needed for the transition to renewable energy.”

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