Territory Stories

Budget Paper No5 Northern Territory Economy 1998/99



Budget Paper No5 Northern Territory Economy 1998/99

Other title

Tabled Paper 382


Tabled papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Michael Reed


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




Tabled papers

File type




Copyright owner

See publication



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

1998. Fortunately for Australian gold producers, much of the price fall has been cushioned by depreciation of the Australian dollar and forward selling. Mines will continue to reassess their plans for further investment, expansion or closure while prices remain low, especially where low grades and tight margins exist. A major source of uncertainty and concern in the mining industry has been the incapacity of the Government to issue valid tenure for resource exploration and mining. The Merlin diamond project in the McArthur Basin is subject to a native title claim. The full effects of the Wik Decision, handed down by the High Court of Australia on 23 December 1996, are still to be determined. As a consequence of the Wik decision, the validity of over 848 titles granted and 696 titles renewed since the commencement of the Native Title Act in January 1994 is uncertain. Following the High Courts decision on the Wik claim, the Territory Government stopped issuing mining titles on pastoral leases, pending clarification by the Commonwealth Government. It is clear that the longer it takes for the Wik decision to be clarified, the greater will be its cumulative effect on exploration and mining industry activity in the Territory. ENERGY The Timor Sea to the north of the Territory contains significant oil and gas reserves. Only those activities occurring within the Northern Territory, and the offshore waters administered by the Territory are included in the ABS official Northern Territory statistics. However, significant benefits accrue to the Territory from the operations in all jurisdictions in the Timor Sea. Part of the Bonaparte and Browse basins in the Timor Sea are administered by Western Austral ia . The Timor Gap Zone of Cooperation Area A (ZOC-A) is jointly administered by Australia and Indonesia. The Territorys significant known energy resources are: uranium deposits at Ranger, Jabiluka and Koongarra; natural gas onshore at Palm Valley and Mereenie and large reserves offshore at Sunrise/Troubadour and in ZOC-A at Bayu-Undan; oil onshore production at Mereenie and offshore production and reserves at Jabiru, Challis and Laminaria/Corallina in the Timor Sea. The value of mineral energy production was $339 million in 1996-97, a 12% decrease on 1995-96 figures. Forecasts for the value of mineral energy production to 2001-02 are shown in Figure 8.4. The value of mineral energy production is forecast to increase significantly in 1999-00, principally as a result of the production from the Laminaria/Corall ina oilf ield in the Ashmore/Cartier area of the Timor Sea. The value of Uranium oxide production is forecast to increase, while the value of natural gas production from central Australia should remain stable. ENERGY EXPLORATION Expenditure on petroleum exploration in the Northern Territory and offshore waters administered by the Territory (including the Ashmore and Cartier Islands Adjacent Area) fell 57% to $41.6 million in the 1996-97. Part of this decrease was related to a shortage of suitable drilling rigs available to explorers, and part to increased activity in ZOC-A and Western Australian areas. The decline in exploration expenditure in 1996-97 can be regarded as a temporary lull in activity. 42 Northern Territory Economy

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain the names, voices and images of people who have died, as well as other culturally sensitive content. Please be aware that some collection items may use outdated phrases or words which reflect the attitude of the creator at the time, and are now considered offensive.

We use temporary cookies on this site to provide functionality.
By continuing to use this site without changing your settings, you consent to our use of cookies.