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NT budget unveils magnitude of mining contribution

Image shows a mining dump truck

Photo by Bloomberg

10th May 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Northern Territory Budget has revealed that mining continued to be the largest contributor to the economy, with 31.7% of gross state product (GSP) sourced from the sector in 2021/22.

In its Budget, the Northern Territory government revealed that mining output increased by 13.4% over 2021/22, largely driven by an increase in oil and gas production.

In 2021/22, the value of mineral production in the Territory reached A$4.86-billion, a 13.6% increase on the previous year’s A$4.28-billion. This is the second-highest total value recorded in the Territory’s history, narrowly trailing the peak figure of A$4.92-billion achieved in 2018/19.

The boost in mineral production value can be attributed to higher prices for manganese and zinc. Specifically, the value of manganese production rose by 21.2% to A$1.78-billion, while the combined value of zinc/lead concentrate increased by 26.9% to A$1.15-billion.

According to the Northern Territory Geological Survey, up to 19 new mining projects could reach final investment decision over the next three to four years.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) on Wednesday commended the territory government’s commitment in the 2023/24 Budget to grow the minerals sector through the commitment of A$6-million to advancing the recommendations of the Minerals Development Taskforce.

Those recommendations list how the Territory can increase investment in mining development, accelerate projects and see the Northern Territory economy grow to A$40-billion by 2030.

“This funding will ensure the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade has the resourcing required to implement the necessary changes put to the Northern Territory government in the recommendations by the Taskforce to attract investment and remove unnecessary impediments,” said the MCA executive director for the Northern Territory Cathryn Tilmouth.

“The Northern Territory government has also committed an investment of A$7.3-million over three years to modernise the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority’s business systems, to facilitate expedient release of land for mineral leases, as recommended in the Mineral Development Taskforce final report. This will reduce risks for both custodians of sacred sites and mining companies, and streamline processes.”

Tilmouth said that the ongoing funding of A$9.5-million a year for the Resourcing the Territory exploration programme is essential to attract exploration in the Territory which is still underexplored and underdeveloped, and will drive further private sector investment.

“Investment in the growth of the mining sector in the Northern Territory will not only mean growth for the mining industry, but growth for the Territory economy and benefits for all territorians,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) said the Northern Territory Budget helped to progress development of the extraordinary opportunity of the Beetaloo basin while accelerating net zero initiatives in the region’s cleaner energy future.

“The Budget invests in critical infrastructure, supports economic growth and enables the energy transformation to net zero by providing a positive investment environment for business,” said Appea Northern Territory director David Slama.

“It provides significant funding for important infrastructure such as new roads for industries like the gas sector to continue to deliver for territorians, enabling job creation and investment.

“The oil and gas industry supports the additional funding for the Resourcing the Territory exploration program, delivering investment in the Northern Territory and supporting new energy supply with all of its benefits.

“New funding for accelerated development of a low-carbon hydrogen industry is also welcome as a key pillar of a cleaner energy future.”

Slama said the gas industry was critical to the Northern Territory’s energy transformation, delivering energy supply and extracting benefits from the Beetaloo while supporting the development of the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct with emissions reduction technologies and low-carbon fuels.

“The oil and gas industry is focused on the Beetaloo basin and Middle Arm so the benefits can be shared with the communities and residents of the Northern Territory,” he said.

“After this month’s Beetaloo basin approval, gas companies are seeking regulatory certainty so they can proceed to production and deliver a new wave of economic prosperity that can help secure improved services and infrastructure.

“Gas is already so crucial to the Northern Territory economy, employing 11 000 workers along the supply chain, enabling about A$19-billion of economic activity annually.

“But research has found Beetaloo development, depending on its size, could create up to 6 300 jobs, a A$1-billion increase in revenues projected to the Northern Territory government over the next two decades and A$22.4-billion in Northern Territory economic growth by 2040.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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