NT records highest-ever mineral exploration expenditure

Image credit: BlackMediaHouse/stock.adobe.com

The Northern Territory Government‘s support for the mining industry is boosting the economy and creating jobs, with the latest quarterly mineral exploration expenditure reaching its highest ever recorded.

Mineral exploration expenditure increased by 30% to $74.4 million in the September quarter compared to the same quarter last year, breaking the previous high of $71.6 million set in the September 2011 quarter.

According to the Government, the Territory’s 30% year-on-year increase in expenditure during the September quarter was significantly higher than Australia’s 5% growth.

The Government reported that NT’s mineral exploration expenditure in 2023 is on track to be the largest calendar year expenditure on record.


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

Minister Manison stated that the Territory’s resources sector, primarily in exploration and production, significantly contributes to nearly 25% of its gross state product.

Demand for critical minerals such as lithium and rare earths drives exploration expansion, contributing to $37.8 million in exploration expenditure.

The Territory is home to 15 internationally known critical minerals and the geological potential for an additional 13 emerging critical minerals.

According to the Government, the Territory’s potential is becoming more widely known, as evidenced by NT’s highest-ever rating in the global Fraser Institute report earlier this year when the State ranked first in the world for Best Practice Mineral Potential as the most geologically prospective jurisdiction.

This year, $3.7 million in grants were given to a record 38 projects from 30 companies as part of round 16 of the Geophysics and Drilling Collaborations grants program, as part of the Territory Government’s support for critical minerals development.

This is part of the $9.5 million Resourcing the Territory effort, which is the Territory Government’s largest and longest-term investment in resource exploration and development. 

In addition, the Territory Government formed the Mineral Development Taskforce to study and identify ways to expedite private investment in the resources industry.

The MDT delivered its report and 28 recommendations for driving sustainable growth of the Territory’s resources sector earlier this year, which the Government approved and is already implementing.

“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,” Minister Manison said.