The Northern Territory Government in Australia has allocated A$4m ($2.6m) in co-funding for the 17th round of the Geophysics and Drilling Collaborations (GDC) programme.

This initiative is part of the A$9.5m Resourcing the Territory programme designed to enhance exploration success and resource development within the region.

The GDC programme is aimed at addressing knowledge gaps, advancing exploration activities, and supporting the discovery and development of new resources.

This funding is expected to catalyse economic growth by fostering industry innovation and providing valuable new data to both industry stakeholders and the public.

For the 2024/25 financial year, the programme will support a total of 41 projects from 29 companies.

These projects encompass a wide spectrum of stages, ranging from early exploration to those nearing development, and cover a diverse array of commodities.

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A significant portion of the projects are focused on commodities listed on the Northern Territory’s current and emerging critical minerals list including cobalt, copper, lithium, molybdenum, nickel, niobium, rare earth elements, tantalum, tin, tungsten and zinc.

The demand for these critical minerals is expected to grow steadily, driven by their essential role in renewable energy, battery storage and high-technology industries.

In addition to critical minerals, other projects are targeting well-known mineral commodities in the Territory, such as gold and uranium, as well as energy commodities like hydrogen and helium.

This diverse investment in various commodities underscores the Northern Territory’s commitment to supporting a wide range of mining activities and its potential as a future hub for mining innovation and production.

In a statement, the Northern Territory Government said: “Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to projects of high technical merit across five categories.

“61 applications were received in round 17, with 41 projects funded including 12 greenfields drilling projects, 8 brownfields diamond drilling projects, 10 regional-scale geophysical projects, 8 innovative targeting projects and 3 advancing critical minerals projects.

“Projects will deliver data and drill core across ten different geological provinces in the NT to encourage further exploration in underexplored areas or to drive development in areas of known resource endowment.”