Budget Paper No.6 1997/98 Northern Territory Economy
Tabled Paper 3223
Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
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.
Minerals Despite the presence of around 2 500 mineral occurrences and a number of petroleum prospects and leads, the Northern Territory is comparatively underexplored and has a potential for further significant mineral and petroleum discoveries. The in situ resource value of the known mineral occurrences of the Northern Territory is estimated at $50 billion (in 1994-95 dollar terms). The Northern Territorys most significant known mineral resources are: bauxite - the third largest bauxite mine in Australia is at Gove; gold - major operating mines are located in the Pine Creek, Tennant Creek and Tanami Desert areas; manganese - Groote Eylandt is the worlds third largest producer of high grade manganese ore; zinc, lead and silver - including one of the worlds largest known ore bodies at McArthur River; deposits of bismuth, copper, mica, molybdenum, palladium, platinum, tantalite, tin and tungsten; and diamonds - the Merlin diamond mine could start operations in 1997-98. Figure 8.2 shows that mineral exploration, including uranium exploration, in the Northern Territory has grown considerably since 1990-91. This increased activity has resulted in significant mineral deposits being discovered. Mineral exploration expenditure in the Territory in 1995-96 increased 24% on 1994-95 figures. In 1995-96 the Territory accounted for 9.8% ($93.9 million) of private mineral exploration expenditure in Australia, over half of which was employed in the search for gold. Minerals Outlook Four new mineral resources are under consideration for production in 1997-98 subject to native title claims and/or environmental assessments. These ventures are gold operations at Burnside and Maud Creek in the Pine Creek area, garnet sands at Harts Range in Central Australia and diamonds at Merlin in the Gulf of Carpentaria area. A major upgrade is also planned at Rustlers Roost gold mine, while Nabalco is expanding its alumina processing plant at Gove; the total expected cost of these projects is approximately $160 million. Mining 44