Sunday, June 23, 2024

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HomeIssue 43Government gets $446m in mineral royalties

Government gets $446m in mineral royalties


The NT Government collected $446m – about 10% – in royalties from $4.6 billion worth of ore sold by the mining companies in the Territory in 2018/19.

There was a small drop in sales in 2019/20 to $4.4 billion, and the royalties won’t be calculated until next year.

According to its 2019 annual report, Newmont – the world’s biggest gold miner – produced $514m worth of gold doré at its Tanami operation north-west of Alice Springs, formerly known as Granites.

At 10% this works out at $51.4m statutory royalties for the Aboriginal owners of the land, the Central Land Council and the Aboriginal Benefit Account.

Drew Wagner, of the Minerals Council, says the total value of the resource sector in the NT – including gas and oil – was $6.6 billion in 2018/19, taking in employment, ancillary services and tax.

Mining Minister Nicole Manison says mineral exploration expenditure for 2019/20 was also strong with $123m spent “by dozens of companies – resulting in the second highest figure since last mining boom in 2012, and 56% higher than 2016/17 results”.

The top performing “metallic minerals” in 2020 were manganese ($1,610m), gold doré ($1,190m), bauxite ($548m) and zinc lead concentrate ($541m).

(Gold doré is a semi-pure alloy of gold and silver.)

Ms Manison did not respond to a request for further information from the Alice Springs News.

PHOTO: “In 2019, Newmont leveraged its proven strategy and superior performance to create the world’s leading gold company,” says Tom Palmer, President and CEO, in the 2019 annual report. Part of the company’s Tanami operation is shown in the Google Earth photo at top.


  1. Gold may well soon be bypassed by rare earths where China controls over 90% of the world’s supply.
    Now other countries find themselves caught short as has happened with barley, wine and now maybe beef, and having to rely on China for both production and refining because there are some environmental implications, which China conveniently ignores in its quest to dominate.
    This may not matter to many people until they turn on their TV, mobile phone or electric car and find it will not work without rare earths.
    The same applies to high tech jet engines for defence and other defence items, rockets, wind turbines and many other things including medical equipment.
    In the NT we have several rare earth deposits of world significance but relatively unnoticed here because so many of us are pre occupied with the footy, Finke, NAts etc and don’t take the time or trouble to be informed.
    We have significant deposits here which will at some stage in the future be of major importance to both us in the NT in particular and the world stability.
    Let’s not put them down or denigrate their importance as we are sometimes prone to do.
    We don’t need gas but we do need rare earths.

  2. Trevor: 100% agree. Our over dependence on China has hurt us and will continue to do so.
    Arafura Resources are looking for Rare Earth and have been for about 10 years.
    Interestingly many people are on about saving the planet, but we continue to buy phones (made in China, though there is no alternative) and yes, their environmental rules are formulated or adjusted to suit low processing costs, hence they control the market for production on rare earths.
    Some underestimate the importance of rare earths, and what will happen if it can’t be found and processed safely.
    Consumers need to be willing to pay an increased price for the goods that use rare earths, that have been processed safely, because unsafe processing will affect us all regardless of where it’s processed as the stuff either leaches into the ground or pollutes the air. It just takes a bit longer to affect us.
    The Government would be wise to use some of the royalty money, (our money) to assist in some of the processing costs and help build a safe and necessary industry.

  3. Arafura need $1,100 million for their mine. Not a misprint.
    They are begging the Feds for a contribution.
    They will not get the money in my opinion.
    Gold is very profitable with the pog at $2,600 oz. Gas lowers cost of production. Tanami Gold have already gone gas.
    So the NT absolutely does need gas and it’s 50% greener than diesel generation.
    The best bet is TNG at Mt Peake which is a greenish vanadium mine.
    Its processing runs on hydrogen and it will produce a green vanadium battery.
    TNG needs $800m and will provide hundreds of jobs over the next 20 years.
    Gold and vanadium and gas are likely to be important contributors to the NT economy.

  4. @Investor: I’m guessing $1,100 million is the same as $1.1B. Putting aside their cash burn which is of a concern to investors, what’s more of a concern is the availability of Rare Earth.
    Yep the money is obviously important, but using the example of oil, if we had to pay $1.1B to get oil, we would (and have).
    So why not invest in Rare Earth?
    I am not suggesting that the Government fund it all, but there are many advantages in providing assistance.
    Furthermore, many have written in this paper about growing Australian industry.
    If you agree with the importance of Rare Earth, have a look and see where the deposits are located around the world and who actually processes it. Then investigate who does it cheapest and ask the ever important question, WHY?
    With appropriate research and commitment, we can get by without it (oil), but given our dependencies on technology (current and emerging), we will not get by without Rare Earth.
    Interesting read here.

  5. If the NT rare earth’s project is such a good investment why are the big instos not stepping up to fund it?
    Instead Arafura is valued by the market at $110m compared with the more advanced Lynas at $2.7 billion.
    Arafura is high risk.
    The US wants US based projects which is why Lynas is moving its processing to the US.
    Invest $1.1 billion and Arafura can’t sell its rare earths? It’s possible.
    Imagine the scandal if taxpayer’s money was wasted!
    Let the market decide which investments are viable.

  6. @ Jason: Yes, Arafura is high risk but no more than the Government. Nobody is suggesting the Government fund it all. Investors look for high risk because that where the big returns are. Unsure who remembers Poseidon… 🙂
    Point was that we need to invest in Australia and for us, the Territory. There are quality minerals here and perhaps we should explore a little deeper.
    The US are still in pilot I thought and we also don’t want to become too dependent on the US as we did with China.
    Isn’t it worth a few bucks of investment to possibly help secure Australia?

  7. @ Surprised: Australia is not dependent on the US or on other countries for rare earths because we use hardly any. Australia does not manufacture high tech products like cameras, phones etc that use rare earths.


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