3 Northern Territory Gold Mines to Restart Operations

3 Northern Territory Gold Mines to Restart Operations
The Northern Territory town of Tennant Creek, population 3,000. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)
Steve Milne

Three gold mines in the Northern Territory's (NT) Top End are set to restart operations after the NT Government awarded the Mt Bundy Gold Project "Major Project Status" on Tuesday.

The three mines, Tom's Gully, Rustler's Roost, and Quest 29, are situated about 100km southeast of Darwin.

The $412 million (US$292 million) project is expected to generate $1.78 billion (US$1.26 billion) in operating expenditure over the life of the project, and create 150 construction jobs over 18 months, as well as 300 full-time jobs for 10 years, according to an NT Government media release.

Mining and Industry Minister Nicole Manison said the gold industry has been vital to the Territory's development, and the Government will continue to work with the private sector to unlock projects which contribute to the economic development of the Territory.

“This Territory Labor Government is driving more mining projects out of the ground, which means more jobs for Territorians and a stronger economy," she said.

“Last year, we established the Mineral Development Taskforce to accelerate more investment and mining projects in the Territory.”

Preliminary construction is already underway, with the construction of the Mt Bundy Creek culvert bridge in October and November 2021, along with the setting up of a dewatering system using the Darwin-based National Pump and Energy (NPE) company and local contractors.

Construction of the actual mines is expected to begin in 2023 following the completion of the regulatory approvals process, in addition to a Final Investment Decision.

The operations will include the three mines and a processing plant, which will produce gold doré ingots, as well as a camp.

Dr Mark Qiu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Primary Gold, Mt Bundy Gold Project's parent company, said the awarding of Major Project Status is an excellent achievement for Primary Gold, its shareholders, and the Territory.

“The awarding of Major Project Status distinguishes the Mt Bundy Gold Project as an attractive investment-ready development in a mining-friendly jurisdiction, with all major authorisations received or well advanced in the approval process," he said.

The Territory has a long history of gold mining and has produced approximately 20 million ounces of gold, primarily from the Pine Creek, Tenant Creek, and Tanami goldfields.

In 2020-21, 505,600 ounces (14.98 tonnes) of gold was produced in the Northern Territory, the value of which was $1.19 billion (US$842 million).

Steve is an Australian reporter based in Sydney covering sport, the arts, and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, qualified nutritionist, sports enthusiast, and amateur musician. Contact him at [email protected].