Work begins at major NT gold project

Aaron BunchAAP
The Northern Territory government has awarded major project status to the Mt Bundy Gold Project.
Camera IconThe Northern Territory government has awarded major project status to the Mt Bundy Gold Project. Credit: AAP

Three Northern Territory mines are set to restart operations after major project status was awarded to the Mt Bundy Gold Project.

The NT government says the $412 million project is likely to generate $1.78 billion in operating expenditure over its life.

"This project is a major goldmine for Territory jobs and for our economy," Chief Minister Michael Gunner said on Tuesday.

Mt Bundy Gold Project parent company Primary Gold plans to restart the Tom's Gully, Rustlers Roost and Quest 29 mines, which are about 100km southeast of Darwin.

"The awarding of major project status distinguishes the Mt Bundy Gold Project as an attractive investment-ready development in a mining friendly jurisdiction," Primary Gold chief executive Mark Qiu said.

Mining construction is expected to commence in 2023 after the regulatory approvals process has been completed and a final investment decision has been made.

The operations will include the mines, a process plant and a camp. The proposed plant and mining operation will produce gold dore ingots.

Construction work is expected to create 150 jobs over 18 months and the mine operations are likely to require 300 full-time workers for about 10 years.

Preliminary construction at the mines has started with an $800,000 culvert bridge built over Mt Bundy Creek late last year.

A $300,000 mine dewatering system has also been set up.

The NT government awards major project status to private sector initiated projects that are significant, complex and have strategic impact.

It says the Mt Bundy Gold Project will contribute to economic growth, employment and industry development in the territory.

Mining at Tom's Gully ceased in 2010 and 1997 at Rustlers Roost due to "commercial decisions based on market forces and operational costs".

These include having to deal with flooding, hard rock and poor quality ore.

Higher commodity prices and better machinery and processes are expected to make the project more commercially viable.

The announcement comes a day after the NT came last in the Commonwealth Bank's CommSec State of the States report.

It ranks jurisdictions based on a range of economic indicators, including investment, unemployment, economic growth and construction projects.

However, the NT was the nation's strongest performer in construction, which was 22.7 per cent higher than a year earlier.

Housing finance was also a strength in the NT according to CommSec Chief Economist Craig James, but new home starts were down 66.5 per cent compared to a decade ago.

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