The minerals sector in the Territory provides a wealth of opportunity and is economically strong. The economy is dominated by the mining and energy resources sector, with the mining and manufacturing industry valued at AU$4.13 billion – over 16% of the Territory economic output.
The Territory has a world-class resource endowment with some of Australia’s largest deposits in non-ferrous metals (zinc, copper, lead, tungsten), battery and high-technology minerals (lithium, rare earths and vanadium), fertiliser commodities (phosphate and potash), gold and uranium.
The Territory’s mineral industry produced $4.5 billion worth of commodities in 2017-18, a 23.8% increase from 2016-17.
Why invest in the Territory?
The Territory is highly prospective and mineral rich with large underexplored areas providing tremendous opportunities for mineral discoveries in a stable, safe and secure jurisdiction.
The resources sector is a key priority for the Northern Territory Government, who provide high quality, free of charge geoscience information and data, and facilitation assistance with regulatory processes.
The largest geoscience initiative ever undertaken by the Territory Government, Resourcing the Territory (2018-2022), supports resources exploration in the Territory and is designed to strategically position the Territory as the preferred destination for minerals and energy investment.
The Territory offers high quality and modern infrastructure, including a well-equipped bulk commodity port with direct connection to a freight railway corridor running the length of the Territory, and a network of natural gas pipelines.
The Port of Darwin boasts the shortest shipping routes to East Asia compared to any other Australian bulk commodity port.
The Territory also offers an attractive opportunity to refine bulk materials close to market with industrial land available within easy commuting distance of a residential workforce to host downstream processing and manufacturing.
There are significant opportunities to invest in minerals production in the Territory. A major focus is to facilitate partnership with junior and mid-tier explorers across the commodities for which the Territory is prospective. Potential investment scenarios include equity investments, project finance, offtake, joint ventures and farm-in arrangements. The Territory is a significant minerals producing jurisdiction with:
- seven major mines operating in the Territory
- the world’s largest manganese mine at Groote Eylandt, supplying 15% of world demand
- one of the largest deposits of zinc-lead in the world at McArthur River Mine
- 30% of Australia’s total known uranium reserves are in the Territory
- strong and well established export relations with China, Korea, Japan and India.
Critical minerals are strategic to the global economy, particularly for new and emerging technologies. The Territory is highly prospective in many critical minerals, and is a world leader in manganese production. The Territory critical minerals plan establishes the vision for the Territory as a globally significant critical minerals producing, processing and manufacturing centre.
To achieve this vision, the Northern Territory’s three-point plan is to:
- accelerate exploration for critical minerals
- support critical minerals projects to commence production
- grow refining, processing and manufacturing of critical minerals in the Territory.
The Territory is focused on increasing participation in the latter stages of the critical minerals value chain and is actively seeking investment to support this goal.
There are currently four key critical mineral projects under development in the Territory, with a total CAPEX of more than AU$3 billion dollars. The Territory has a proven track record of developing mining projects, associated infrastructure and industry workforce.
These and future projects benefit from strong local mining service and supply capabilities and infrastructure. Further, globally significant gas resources provide the potential to deliver efficient power generation.
The Territory is rich in mineral and energy commodities and has a long history as a supplier resources to world markets.