The Northern Territory has a long and continuous history of gold mining, with around 20 million ounces of gold produced, primarily from three main goldfields in Pine Creek, Tennant Creek and the Tanami.
Newmont-Goldcorp’s Tanami Operations, located 550km northwest of Alice Springs, has produced >8Moz of gold, and remains the Territory’s largest gold operation, with remaining reserves and resources of 5.91 Moz. Mineralisation consists of high-grade Au-quartz veins in folded carbonaceous siltstone in the lower Dead Bullock Formation.
The operations include the Callie deposit (>7.6 Moz), the 5.83 Moz Auron deposit, the Federation South Limb and the Liberator deposit. The total pre-mining gold endowment at the mine was 14.2 Moz at the end of 2017. Gold is processed at a plant at The Granites, 40km east of the mine.
The Pine Creek Orogen has a 150 year history of gold mining with more than 4 million ounces of gold produced. Most deposits are orogenic gold deposits in the Palaeoproterozoic Cosmo Supergroup, with gold most commonly hosted in-quartz veins, lodes, sheeted veins, stockworks and saddle reefs, with some gold also hosted within iron-rich sediments. Gold also occurs with zinc and silver associated with volcanic-associated massive sulphide deposits.
A number of gold projects in the Pine Creek Orogen are well advanced towards potential production, including a high-grade underground project at Toms Gully, the 8 million ounce Mount Todd gold project near Katherine, and the polymetallic Hayes Creek project.
The Tanami Region has seen more than 10 million ounces of gold produced since 1986, and remains the Territory’s most significant gold producing province. Mineralisation in the Tanami is typically orogenic gold, with gold hosted in quartz and/or quartz-carbonate veins in folded carbonaceous siltstone, iron-rich sediments, turbidite, basalt or dolerite.
Gold production in the Warramunga Province has largely been sourced from the Tennant Creek field, where over 5 million ounces of gold has been historically produced from high-grade gold-copper-bismuth deposits hosted within magnetite and/or hematite-rich ironstone bodies in the Palaeoproterozoic Warramunga Formation. A similar field occurs in the Rover field, 70km to the southwest, beneath the overlying Wiso Basin. Substantial exploration commenced in 2020-21 for undercover gold and copper-gold mineralisation in undercover extensions of the Tennant Creek mineral field in the Barkly Tableland east of Tennant Creek.
Other companies exploring in the Tennant Creek mineral field include Rio Tinto Exploration, King River Resources Ltd and Truscott Mining. Companies exploring for gold or copper-gold in the Barkly Tableland east of Tennant Creek include Newcrest Mining, Inca Minerals, Strategic Energy Resources, Middle Island Resources and Greenvale Mining.
The gold potential of the Tanami extends into the Aileron Province to the southeast with exploration targeting a range of mineralisation styles including orogenic shear-hosted gold, intrusion-related gold and iron oxide copper gold.