Northern Territory highlights critical minerals credentials in new report

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Minister for Mining and Industry Nicole Manison announced that recent data found the cost of critical minerals exploration in the Northern Territory increased by about 30 per cent in 2022 to $198.6 million –up from $153.4 million in 2021. 

The government said that critical minerals are used in the manufacturing of cutting-edge technology including computers, mobile phones, fibre-optic cables, semiconductors, and banknotes, as well as in the military, aerospace, and medical fields.

According to the report, the most rapid increase in demand is driven by the minerals’ usage in low-emission technologies, including electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, and rechargeable batteries.

The findings also showed that at $82.7 million, nearly half of the exploration costs went toward rare earths, lithium, and other vital minerals.

For the December 2022 quarter, mineral exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory was $56 million – up 25 per cent on the same quarter in 2021.

The government said the statistics coincide with the release of the Critical Minerals in the Northern Territory guide.

The document highlights the critical minerals found in the Territory, assisting international investors interested in exploring the region.

The guide lists the 15 vital minerals that the Territory now lacks as well as the geological potential for an additional 13 emerging critical minerals.

“The Territory is underexplored for critical minerals and the demand for these minerals is expected to soar to support renewable energy, battery storage and high-tech industries,” said Minister Manison.

As a result, the minister pointed out that the Northern Territory has a ton of strategic and economic potential to establish itself as a premier source of minerals for the world’s energy transition.

“The $82.7 million spent on exploration for critical minerals such as lithium and rare earth was a record, 74% higher than the record previously set in 2011,” noted Manison.

The Territory Labor Government said it is supporting a sector through the Resourcing the Territory initiative that not only contributes to a more sustainable future but also employs thousands of Territorians.