Northern Territory reports record-level increase in mineral exploration expenditure

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The Northern Territory Government has announced a record increase in mineral exploration expenditure in the September 2023 quarter. 

In a media release, the NT government said the latest figure marks an increase of 30 per cent to $74.4 million from the same quarter in 2022 and smashes the previous record of $71.6 million set in the September 2011 quarter. 

The increase was significantly higher than the Australian-wide growth of 5 per cent. 

Mineral exploration expenditure in the NT in 2023 is currently on track to be the highest calendar year expenditure on record, according to the NT government. 

Demand for critical minerals such as lithium and rare earths is driving the growth in exploration, accounting for $37.8 million in exploration expenditure. 

Minister for Mining Nicole Manison said these latest figures show the demand for the Territory’s critical minerals as the world rapidly transitions to renewable energy. 

“The Territory’s resources sector, both in exploration and production, is a significant driver of the Territory’s economy – currently contributing close to a quarter of the Territory’s gross state product,” Mansion said. 

“The sector creates jobs, helps build our regions, and grows wealth for all Territorians, which is why the Territory Labor Government will always back it in through Resourcing the Territory grants and making the NT the most attractive place to do business.”

The Territory has 15 internationally recognised critical minerals and has geological potential for a further 13 emerging critical minerals. 

NT is also gaining recognition globally, ranking first in the global Fraser Institute survey for Best Practice Mineral Potential as the most geologically prospective jurisdiction. 

As part of its support for critical minerals exploration, the NT Government has awarded a total of $3.7 million in grants to a record 38 projects from 30 companies under round 16 of the Geophysics and Drilling Collaborations grants program. 

The investment is part of the $19.5 million Resourcing the Territory initiative, the largest and longest-term investment ever made by a Territory Government to support resource exploration and development.