Home » NT Business News – April 11 | NT Independent

NT Business News – April 11 | NT Independent

Business news from across the Northern Territory: Latest highlights include Wilga Indigenous Corporation awarded the Ship Lift sub-contractor package and a new report pointing out the major problems in the local economy. Also, in resource news, Rio Tinto is taking over the Ranger mine rehab program and Tennant Minerals completes a $4.8 million capital raising effort.

Local economy

New report finds gaps in NT economy

A new report from the Darwin Major Business Group pointed out that the NT economy would probably reach only $34 billion by 2030 at best, not $40 billion as hyped by the NT Government. The report saw significant shortfalls in the local economy’s present state including:

  • Interstate migration. Between 2016 to 21, more than 5,000 left for Canberra. In the year to September 2023, 3,606 more Territorians left than migrated here from interstate;
  • The NT’s job vacancies have grown faster than Australia’s, with voluminous vacancies in higher-skill, higher-income positions, with acute shortages in medicine and law. The non-residential workforce went up from 4,200 in 2011 to 7,000 in 2016, and around 6,000 in 2021;
  • Declining private investments. The level of private investment in Greater Darwin and the NT has reduced considerably over time while growing in other regions and Australia generally,” the report said;
  • Higher cost of living than elsewhere in Australia—around 20 per cent more for business and 50 per cent more for home than the rest of the country. Freight costs per payload tonne are $474 in Darwin, and $366 in remote NT compared with $57 in Adelaide, Perth and Sydney. Insurance premiums in northern Australia are substantially higher than in the rest of Australia;
  • Public infrastructure and manufacturing are also down with 68 per cent of NT roads being unsealed due to lack of public investment contributing to low liveability levels. Manufacturing is currently saddled with a $1.8 billion deficit with almost all goods being imported. Only metal goods have a net positive export value; and
  • The report concluded that the NT’s economy is three times more dependent on aviation as a means of travel compared to the whole of Australia, and that “Airline seat capacity to/from Darwin is recovering at a slower rate than other markets or Australia generally.” In the five years to 2022, the economic impact of tourism on the economy declined from 4.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent.



Wilga Indigenous Corporation awarded Ship Lift sub-contractor package

The initial $16.9 million sub-contractor package has been awarded to local Territory business, Wilga Indigenous Corporation, to supply 430,000 tonnes of rock for the construction of the Darwin Ship Lift Facility Project. The lead contractor, Clough BMD JV, will be awarding more sub-contractor packages for further quarry supply, site surveying, site facilities and plant equipment and hire in the coming weeks.

During the peak of Ship Lift construction, over 250 workers will be employed, with an average of 100 workers on-site throughout construction. Upon completion, the ship lift facility will perpetuate hundreds of local jobs within the maritime support sector, contributing significantly to the region’s economic growth and stability.

The ship lift and transfer system supply contracts will provide the new winch system and transfer vehicle to lift ships up to 5,500 tonnes and manoeuvre them around the facility. This highly specialised equipment will be manufactured outside of Australia and shipped to Darwin as no domestic vendors were able to meet the supply requirements.

Engineering consultant WGA has worked with the NT Government, operators Paspaley and the Australian Navy over the past 12 months to develop and finalise the design through vigorous value engineering, constructability and feasibility reviews. The final design includes five berths, with the flexibility to cater for vessels up to 190 metres long, such as the Hunter class, over two berths.


Rio Tinto takes over Ranger mine rehab program

A new Management Services Agreement (MSA) will see Rio Tinto take over managing the Ranger Rehabilitation Project on behalf of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA). The MSA builds on ERA’s ongoing rehabilitation work with Rio Tinto’s technical expertise in designing, scoping and executing closure projects, the companies said. Transition to Rio Tinto management of the project will take about three months.

Under the MSA, Rio Tinto and ERA aim to complete the Ranger Rehabilitation Project in the safest and most efficient way, and to a standard that will establish an environment similar to the adjacent Kakadu National Park and that is consistent with the wishes of the Traditional Owners of the land, the Mirarr people.

“So far, ERA has made progress in key areas, including water, tailings treatment and management and pit rehabilitation,” Rio Tinto chief executive (Australia) Kellie Parker said. “We are aligned with ERA in wanting to build on this work using Rio Tinto’s expertise in closure projects and our commitment to strong stakeholder relationships. We look forward to working in partnership with the Mirarr Traditional Owners and other stakeholders to complete the project.”

Tennant Minerals completes $4.8 million capital raising

Tennant Minerals Ltd has completed a capital raising effort to raise $4.8 million (before costs) to fund key drilling programs and development studies at its Barkly Project in the NT, located 40 km east of Tennant Creek, the company said. Tennant said drilling would be focused on expanding and defining the Bluebird high-grade copper-gold discovery as well as testing other high-priority targets within the 2.5km long Bluebird-Perseverance corridor and on the Babbler project to the south.

The company said drilling will start as weather conditions in the NT improve.

“This very successful, over-subscribed $4.8 million capital raising will allow us to extend and clearly define the size and grade of the high-grade copper-gold mineralisation discovered at Bluebird,” Tennant Minerals CEO Vincent Algar said. “We also plan to test several very attractive Bluebird-like targets within the highly prospective 2.5km Bluebird-Perseverance Corridor. This new funding will allow us to commence a substantial drilling program as soon as possible.”