The Northern Territory has a long history of uranium mining and has some of Australia’s most significant and highest grade uranium deposits.
145 787 tonnes uranium oxide
1613 tonnes uranium oxide
Remaining JORC resources
<200,000 tonnes uranium oxide
Value of production in 2019/20
Production ranking in Australia
The Territory currently contains around 30% of Australia’s low-cost uranium resources. Uranium mining in the Northern Territory (NT) commenced in 1953 in the Rum Jungle and South Alligator fields, and a second phase of mining in the Alligator Rivers uranium field near Jabiru commenced in 1980 and ended with the closure of the Ranger uranium mine in January 2021.
Most uranium production in the NT has been from the Alligator Rivers Uranium Field in the eastern Pine Creek Orogen. The Alligator Rivers field contains unconformity-related uranium deposits that locally contain more than 100,000 tonne contained U3O8, with grades generally in the range 0.2-2% U3O8. These deposits, which include Ranger, Jabiluka, Koongarra and Nabarlek, are typically hosted within the Palaeoproterozoic basement of the Cahill Formation (Pine Creek Orogen), close to the unconformity with the basal MacArthur Basin.
In January 2021, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd ceased production at the Ranger uranium mine, after a 40 year mine life that produced over 132,000 tonnes of U3O8. The mine is now undergoing rehabilitation that is due to be completed in 2026.
Current exploration in the Alligator Rivers field is focussed in western Arnhem Land, where a maiden resource was announced at the Angularli deposit in 2018. Elsewhere in the Pine Creek Orogen, smaller but locally high-grade vein-style and other basement-hosted uranium deposits occur in the South Alligator, Rum Jungle and Hayes Creek uranium fields.
Sandstone-type deposits occur in Palaeozoic sediments in the Ngalia and Amadeus basins in central Australia. The largest of these deposits are the Angela deposit in the Amadeus Basin and the Bigrlyi deposit in the Ngalia Basin. Cenozoic palaeochannel-hosted uranium has also been identified in the Ngalia Basin area, and has the potential to become an important exploration target in Central Australia.
There are also significant uranium occurrences in the basal southern McArthur Basin and underlying basement of the Murphy Province, close to the Westmoreland uranium deposit which occurs in adjacent regions of Queensland.
The Aileron Province, Warramunga Province and Tanami Region contain known uranium prospects and locally uranium-enriched granites. These provinces and overlying basins and palaeochannels represent greenfields uranium exploration targets.