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The latest quarterly mineral exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory is the highest ever recorded

Mineral exploration spending for the September quarter shot up by 30 percent to $74.4 million compared with the same quarter in 2022. It breaks the previous record of $71.6 million set in the September 2011 quarter.

The 30 percent year-on-year rise was much higher than the Australia-wide increase of 5 percent.

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

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

And the Territory’s potential is increasingly being recognised, with the highest ever ranking in the global Fraser Institute survey last year –ranked 1st globally for Best Practice Mineral Potential as the most geologically prospective jurisdiction.

In 2023, the Territory Government awarded $3.7 million in grants to a record 38 projects from 30 companies as part of round 16 of the Geophysics and Drilling Collaborations grants program.

This is part of the $9.5 million Resourcing the Territory initiative, which is the largest and longest-term investment ever made by a Territory Government to support resource exploration and development.

The Territory Government also established the Mineral Development Taskforce to investigate and identify opportunities to accelerate private investment in the resources sector.

Earlier this year the taskforce delivered its report and 28 recommendations to drive sustainable development of the Territory’s resources sector, which the Government accepted and is now implementing.

Minister for Mining Nicole Manison says: “These latest figures show the world is quickly transitioning to renewable energy – and the Territory’s critical minerals are in high demand.

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

“The sector creates jobs, helps build our regions, and grows wealth for all Territorians.”