Mineral exploration expenditure increased by 43 per cent in the Northern Territory during the 2017/18 financial year, statistics released this week have shown.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows exploration expenditure for 2017/18 totalled $111.8 million.
Australia-wide, exploration expenditure increased by 26 per cent over the same period, showing growth in the Territory’s mineral exploration sector is well above the Australian average.
The figures also show much of this new exploration activity was in greenfields areas – areas not yet explored – with more than 50 per cent of all exploration expenditure in the Territory taking place in areas away from known deposits.
The NT Government’s Resourcing the Territory initiative will further encourage exploration through a range of programs to stimulate the sector, including the Geophysics and Drilling Collaboration grants program, which saw a record number of applicants this year.
Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles said: “The Government is investing in the exploration sector to create more jobs for Territorians and more work for Territory businesses.
“To achieve this, in the 2018 Budget we allocated $26 million over four years to our Resourcing the Territory initiative – the highest amount ever invested by any Territory government.
“We have seen fantastic interest from the mining sector, including in the Geophysics and Drilling Collaboration program, with the highest number of applicants ever received in the 11 years it has been running – 36 this year, up from 15 last year.
“We also have one of the Territory’s largest ever geophysical surveys underway in the Tanami Desert to encourage further exploration in the area.
“Our exploration and mining sector is critical to our economy and the ABS figures show the Territory is one of the most attractive places for explorers to invest.
“Importantly, this is easily the biggest year-on-year increase since the peak of the last boom, which shows a high level of confidence in the Territory as a destination for investment.
“Our Resourcing the Territory initiative is opening up new areas for exploration and reducing the risk of exploration investment. This is making the Territory a preferred destination for investors – all the while creating jobs and supporting local businesses.”
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