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Mineral Resources of the Northern Territory of Australia-TLW

Overview of Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is located in the middle of northern Australia. Darwin, the capital, is the main city in northern Australia. The Northern Territory covers an area of about 1.35 million square kilometers, making up about one-sixth of Australia. It has a population of 245,100, just over 1% of Australia's population. Darwin is the administrative and commercial center of the Northern Territory with a population of about 140,000. Alice Springs is the largest commercial center in the Northern Territory outside Darwin, with a population of about 29,000 and an important base for tourist activity in the Central region.

The Northern Territory has world-class resource wealth, including some of Australia's largest deposits of uranium, zinc, and lead, bauxite, gold, phosphate, and manganese, as well as new copper, iron ore, rare earth, tungsten, ore, and potash commodity projects and conventional and unconventional oil and gas projects.

Mineral resources in the Northern Territory

1. Copper

The Northern Territory is rich in copper reserves and deposits are widely distributed with various types. Over the past 40 years, more than half a million tons of copper have been produced. Existing copper reserves are estimated at 1.4 million tons.

Copper mineralization occurs in a variety of deposit types, including iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits; Massive sulfide deposits of volcanic origin; Massive sulfide deposits associated with intrusive rocks; Shale-type copper deposit (±Co±Pb); Carbonate type copper deposit; Polymetallic quartz vein deposit; And skarn deposits.

In recent years, the iron-ore cop-gold deposits located in Warramunga Province, Tennant Creek, and Rover fields have undergone extensive copper exploration and a large number of new resources have been identified as deposits.

The Arunta Region is also a major area of copper exploration. The largest known deposit in the Arunta Region is located at Jervois, 300 km northwest of Alice Springs. The mineralization of Jervois occurs in a series of nearly vertical sulfur-rich stratabound deposits with a strike length of 12 km. KGL Resources Gold Ltd announced the discovery of 25.3 million tonnes of 1.1% copper and 22.1 g/t silver with a copper content of 280,000 tonnes at the Reward, Green Parrot, Bellbird, and Bellbird North deposits in Jervois. The greenbelt of the Arunta Region is considered to have a high potential for copper and copper mineralization.

2. Diamond

Diamond-bearing Kimberlite pipes and dikes have been found in the northern part of the Northern Territory. Open-pit operations at Merlin-Diamond Field from 1999 to 2003 have produced over 500,000 carats worth $108 per carat. The high-value diamonds in the Merlin rock tubes are associated with the high production of gem-grade ores (30% by weight) and a relatively high proportion of white stones (55%). 

The Merlin Diamond ore field consists of 14 Kimberlite pipes spread across five separate ore groups. In 2012, Merlin's total JORC probable ore reserves were 11.1 million tonnes at 0.26 carats per tonne for a total of 2.89 million carats, while JORC's indicated and inferred mineral resources were 19.02 million tonnes at 0.24 carats per tonne for a total of 4.31 million carats.

3. Gold

The Northern Territory is rich in gold deposits and has produced more than 15 million ounces of gold over the past 40 years, with about 14 million ounces of known resources. Gold mineralization occurs in many types of deposits, They include orogenic type gold deposit (quartz vein), intrusive related gold deposit (±Ag±Cu±Pb±Zn), iron oxide type gold ± copper deposit, Homestake type gold deposit (vein within the iron-rich metamorphic sedimentary rock), skarn gold deposit, epithermal Au±PGE deposit, sand fund deposit and unconformity u-Au deposit.

There are two active goldfields in the Northern Territory: Newmont's Callie Gold Mine in the Tanami Region and Crocodile Gold Ltd's Pine Creek mine. The Callie Gold Mine, operated by Newmont Mining Corporation, was discovered in 1991 and opened in 1995.

Gold exploration operations are concentrated in the large ore fields of Pine Creek, Tennant Creek, and Tanami. Tanami Gold NL has significant Gold resources at its Central Tanami project in the Tanami Region, including the old Tanami mine, which produced 2 million ounces of gold from 43 open pit mines between 1987 and 2005. In September 2011, the Total JORC resource for the Central Tanami project was identified at 25.5 million tonnes with a grade of 3.2 g/t of gold and a total recoverable capacity of 2.63 million ounces. In 2012, the Groundrush deposit was discovered to have more than doubled in resources. It is located in thick fractured coarse basaltic rock and a secondary discrete high-grade quartz vein. JORC resource reserves are 6.72 million tons with a grade of 4.8 g/t gold.