PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The final report from the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission (TERC) has found that a step change in the level of private investment would be required to fuel economic growth and jobs in the Northern Territory.
Both mineral resources and gas have been tapped to play a major part in the economic recovery of the Northern Territory, with the TERC report showing that it would provide up to 27.5% of growth under the commission’s plans.
The report has recommended that the Territory should continue to partner with the federal government and industry on gas developments such as the Beetaloo sub-basin, on the basis that development would be subject to commercial feasibility and adherence to legislation.
The report also urged that the territory should implement a decarbonisation plan, including interim targets, that will deliver growth and net zero targets, position itself as a key research and development location for low emissions technology, facilitate growth of carbon offsets, and look to take advantage of the growing demand for zero emissions supply chains.
Furthermore, the Territory has been urged to rapidly progress manufacturing opportunities in low emissions petrochemicals, renewable hydrogen, minerals processing, and food-related processing. Master plans to target low emissions design and electrification, bringing the Territory's resources, renewables and gas assets together.
Meanwhile, although mining is considered one of the Territory’s largest industries and employers, the report noted that no new major mines have been developed in the region since 2005, urging the development of a Territory Minerals Development Taskforce to target new mines, using the master plan approach to target investors and new demand markets, particularly to activate existing leases; increase exploration to discover new resources and help prove up existing ones; develop minerals processing opportunities.
The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has welcomed the TERC report, saying the territory’s world class minerals sector would be crucial to the jobs and investment communities need to recover and thrive after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The adoption of the TERC recommendations will go far in realising the immense benefits provided by the current minerals development pipeline of 17 projects and more than A$6-billion in investment,” said MCA executive director for the Northern Territory Drew Wagner.
He said that the industry body was encouraged by the opportunities presented by the government’s adoption of this report, in particular the government’s plans to urgently stand up a Territory Minerals Development Taskforce to accelerate mining development, promote partnered and targeted exploration activity, develop a suitably skilled and ready workforce and produce a land access guide to outline rights and obligations in a respectful manner.
“The Northern Territory minerals industry will work with the community and government to grow the sector on behalf of all Territorians to help reap the many benefits of widespread rural and regional economic development.
“The government’s clear sense of urgency in implementing the recommendations in this report is great news for the minerals industry and the regional communities in which our companies operate,” said Wagner.