An aerial view image of a uranium mine in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Government has committed to growing mineral exploration and production with new annual funding after the Territory was ranked third globally for mineral potential.

The independent report also placed the Northern Territory in the top ten globally for investment attractiveness, with 17 critical minerals in high demand around the world, including lithium, rare earths, graphite and copper.

The total value of mineral production in the Northern Territory was $4.38 billion in 2023, with 5,300 working within the industry.

An outcome evaluation report by Deloitte has shown that the first four years of the Resourcing the Territory initiative – introduced in 2018 – has helped boost investment in resources exploration in the Northern Territory.

The report comes as the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies showed that the Northern Territory ranked second in the world for the number of respondents stating that the Territory’s geological database encouraged investment.

Mineral exploration expenditure recorded $228.1 million in 2023, which is a 14 per cent increase from 2022.

The outcome evaluation report also included case studies that demonstrated that pre-competitive geoscience, legacy data capture and exploration grants led to new investments in the Northern Territory, including investments from major mining companies through joint ventures and partnerships.

In 2023-24, the Resourcing the Territory’s exploration grants program supported 38 projects by 30 companies, such as Prodigy Gold exploring for gold in the Tanami region and Encounter Resources exploring for copper in the prospective Sandover project in Central Australia.

In May 2024, the Northern Territory Government announced a change to the way mineral royalties are calculated in the Territory, with a new ad valorem royalty scheme to commence from 1 July 2024 for new mines that commence from 2024.

Northern Territory Chief Minister, Eva Lawler, said, “We’re backing the industries that get the Territory working and that means investing in growing the mining and resources industry.

“The Territory has a huge opportunity to power the world for decades to come through natural gas and critical mineral exports – both critical to supplying future global power demands.

“Backing the mining and resources industry means thousands more work opportunities for Territorians.”

Northern Territory Minister for Mining, Mark Monaghan, said, “Through initiatives such as our $9.5 million per year Resourcing the Territory program, we have been promoting the Northern Territory’s geological potential for critical minerals and industry is actively recognising the Territory’s potential.

“We know the value of this program – this is why we brought it in six years ago. And now an independent evaluation is telling us just how crucial it is to attracting further investment and helping companies do their job.”

Image credit: John Carnemolla/Shutterstock.com.

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