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The Northern Territory (NT) Government has announced its mineral exploration spending for 2023 increased by 14 per cent compared to the 2022 total spend.

According to new data, mineral exploration expenditure in the NT for 2023 equalled $228.1 million compared to $199.9 million spent in 2022, making 2023 the largest year for exploration the NT has seen in over a decade.

The 2023 spend is only just short of the highest expenditure ever recorded in the NT, which was $228.4 million in 2011.

“Mineral exploration expenditure in the Territory continues to lead the country– and Territorians are the ones set to benefit,” NT Mining Minister Mark Monaghan said.

“The Territory Labor Government is capitalising on the NT’s abundance of critical minerals, our new round of exploration grants focused on companies who were looking for the minerals the world demands.

“There are exciting opportunities for the Territory to become a leading supplier of the critical minerals needed for the transition to renewable energy.”

The NT mining industry has been further bolstered by an expenditure of $63.1 million in mineral exploration for the December 2023 quarter. It was revealed last month that the NT mining and resource industry is worth $6.2 billion.

The Federal Government is also noticing the significance of mining in the NT, with a commitment to provide $840 million in conditional funding for Arafura Rare Earths’ Nolans project.

The project is set to become the territory’s first combined rare earths mine and refinery in the NT, with the refinery to create over 300 jobs.