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NT Government: Exploration Grants open as the NT welcomes two new Critical Minerals

05 Mar 2024 9:39 AM | Stephanie Berlin (Administrator)

Applications are now open for Round 17 of the Territory Labor Government’s Geophysics and Drilling Collaborations program with up to $3 million in grants available to advance exploration.

This comes as mineral exploration expenditure in the Territory reached a record $74.4 million in the September quarter of 2023, up 30% from the previous year.

Part of the $9.5 million Resourcing the Territory program, these grants aim to address geoscientific knowledge gaps, advance exploration activity and support the discovery and development of resources in the Territory.

More than half of the $3 million funding pool will be directed towards projects targeting commodities on the NT’s critical minerals list, which has recently seen an addition of two new critical minerals.

Gallium and Graphite increase the number of critical minerals in the NT from 15 to 17, and with global demand rapidly growing for critical minerals this presents a huge economic opportunity.

Gallium is a sliver-white metal which has a multitude of uses including in integrated circuits, lasers and LEDs. This new critical mineral has recently been identified in newly discovered rare earth and graphite deposits in the NT and is an important addition to the portfolio of the NT’s resources.

Graphite is an Iron-black mineral which also has a multitude of uses, however is one of the few key critical minerals used to create batteries for EV’s and stationary energy storage systems, as such Graphite will be a building block for our transition to a net-zero future.

A huge driver of the economy, the total value of mineral production in the Northern Territory was $4.86 billion last year, with 4,400 people employed within the industry. 

Demand for these critical minerals is projected to rapidly grow with the increasing transition to renewable energy and battery storage, along with the crucial role of these minerals in areas such as medicine and defence.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mining, Mark Monaghan:

“The Territory Labor Government will always back projects that get Territorians working.

“It is clear that the demand for critical minerals is driving this growth in exploration, and as it stand over 4400 Territorians work within the minerals industry.

“The Northern Territory is standing at the helm of a global critical minerals surge, and we have the opportunity to become a leading supplier for the world’s renewable energy transition. Of the world’s critical minerals, the Northern Territory now has mineral resources for 17 – up from 15, with high potential for a further 12.”

Source: Northern Territory Government Newsroom

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