A major new airborne geophysical survey is underway in the Tanami Desert.
It is part of the NT Government’s $26 million investment in minerals exploration - the Resourcing the Territory initiative.
The survey is one of the largest of its kind undertaken in the Territory and the data it records will help explorers locate mineral deposits they can develop into future mining projects that will create Territory jobs.
The survey is a collaboration between the Government and three private companies.
It will see two planes fly a total of 275,000km over an area of the Tanami Desert 300km west of Tennant Creek to determine where mineral deposits of interest might lie.
The planes will be equipped with a magnetometer, which measures small changes in the earth’s magnetic field caused by the magnetism of underlying rocks - it effectively allows geologists to ‘see through’ the sand to what lies beneath.
Data from the airborne survey, which is expected to take five months, will be made public.
Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles said: “We are developing Tennant Creek as a mining services hub and, as the Territory’s premier gold-producing area, the Tanami region plays an important part in that.
“Gold is already a major contributor to the NT economy and Aboriginal communities. Discovering new deposits in this region is difficult, but this survey will produce data that can help mineral explorers find not only gold but also other commodities such as copper, nickel and rare earths.
“Resourcing the Territory is opening up new areas for exploration and reducing the risk of exploration investment, which makes the Territory a preferred destination for investors and supports local businesses.”
Member for Stuart, Scott McConnell said: “The Tanami is a vast area with many untapped resources that could be turned into viable projects to provide jobs in the region.
“Mining projects of the future can create employment opportunities for Aboriginal Territorians in areas where jobs can be hard to find.”
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