The Territory has a bright future – 2017 NT Major Projects Conference

Some ISACNT employees were fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2017 NT Major Projects Conference held recently at the Darwin Convention Centre on 18 and 19 October.

After listening to the speakers over two full days it seems that the Northern Territory is really poised to take off - beautifully illustrated by the concept of a space-base to be built on the Gove Peninsula.

So what do we have to look forward to over the next few years? Let’s have a look at what is on the drawing board for the NT.

The Chief Minister opened the conference by talking about the 18 Major Projects which were currently on the drawing board for the Northern Territory. These projects could see 8000 jobs created. Some of these projects, such as the Northern Gas Pipeline, are already underway and kicking employment goals for the NT.

Conference delegates listened to speakers talk about Project Sea Dragon – the biggest prawn farm in the Southern Hemisphere. The NT Government is already committing substantial resources toward developing the road infrastructure to support this mammoth project. Project Sea Dragon itself will provide temporary employment to hundreds of people during the construction phase, followed by substantial sustainable employment during the project's operational lifespan. The multiplier effect of the project will see significant increases in many other areas of employment – imagine the impact on the transport industry in the Top End.

We heard about the Tellus Chandler Salt Mine Project in Central Australia. This very exciting and innovative project will see high grade salt mined and distributed, and voids created by the underground mining filled with waste. The nature of the salt will see waste materials coated with salt and rendered safe for years to come. Again, this will result in major employment outcomes during both the construction and operational phase of the project.

Renaissance One are designing and building the Darwin Battery Storage Gigafactory. This factory, once complete, will produce lithium ion batteries, designed to operate in tropical conditions. These batteries will be used for everything from electric vehicles to mobile phones. With a significant proportion of the world’s population living within 5 hours flying time of Darwin, this project has access to a huge market.

We also heard from Arafura Resources regarding their Nolans Bore rare earth mine which will produce neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr). This mineral is used extensively in the production of high efficiency electric motors. Given that a sizeable number of countries in the world have already set dates for the end of manufacture of petrol / diesel vehicles (some as early as 2025), the components to produce electric vehicles will be in short supply. Nolans Bore project is ideally placed to supply a sizeable proportion of the minerals required to satisfy the market.

There were many other speakers at the conference, all of whom presented a very positive outlook for the Northern Territory. Projects such as the Darwin Shiplift Facility, Truck Central and sealing of Gunpoint Road in the Top End, upgrades to the Beef Roads in the Barkly region, and of course the major mine projects in Central Australia, will all contribute to the ongoing economic success of the NT. This all leads to employment for both urban dwellers and for those people living in remote areas of the Territory.