2018 Mining the Territory Conference by Informa

Thank you to all of the sponsors, presenters and delegates of the 2018 Mining the Territory conference held in Darwin. It was an extremely well run conference with three simultaneous events. Mining the Territory, Building the Territory and SEAAOC.

It was a great chance to mingle and meet with old colleagues and new faces alike. I spent most of my time in the Mining the Territory presentation room and enjoyed hearing about the great lengths the NT government are going to, to build relationships within industry, provide direct and indirect funding to further develop mining business within the NT and generally help with exploration through developing new datasets and creating an online data discovery tool to access incoming and legacy data.

Some key take-aways were:

The NT Government are providing $26 million funding (under Resourcing the Territory) for the next 4 years (2018-2022) to support greenfield exploration. Diamond drilling and some RC drilling co-funding projects. Geophysical acquisition for new areas and upgrading old areas (200m Magnetics and 2km Gravity surveys).

Funding used to stimulate regions such as the Barkly, the Gulf, the Tanami and the Tennent Creek areas.

Indirect funding provided by the NT Government are population growth incentives such as Welcome to the Territory, part of the Northern Territory Population Growth Strategy 2018 – 2028, which aims to create 21 000 jobs and boost the Territory’s economy by $10 billion over the next ten years

The NT Government are collaborating with Geoscience Australia under the Exploring for the Future which has a budget of $100M and will be used for projects such as geophysical acquisition and regional models to help explorers de-risk investment decisions.

Further to the development of new geophysical datasets, Uncover Australia got quite a few mentions. This is a private / public partnership between government, universities, mining companies and industry bodies to use existing and new datasets and modern data processing techniques (such as machine learning / AI / big data handling) to develop new models of the geoscientific landscape.

Additional funding available for NT owned and operated suppliers and companies.

An interesting conversation I had identified that the expenditure of such money has lead other states to a 15 to 20 times return on investment as the funding stimulates direct and indirect business growth across the region.

Major deposits in the region being promoted are: Battery metals (Li, Co), Precious metals (Au+/-Cu), Base metals (Pb-Zn-Ag+/-Cu, Co), Polymetallic (Pb-Zn-Ag+/-Cu), Diamonds, Energy (U), and pure gold plays.

New ore-genesis models and concepts are being understood as typical outcrop discoveries are less likely as many resources in the NT are under cover.

In summary, there appears to be a lot of government backed incentives to get exploration and mine development moving forward in the Northern Territory, lots of prospective and under-explored regions to test new models, ambitious population and job growth targets and data and technology investments to de-risk exploration in the region. A very informative two day conference I can recommend attending in the coming years.