The Northern Territory (NT) is well endowed with copper, with around two million tonnes of historical copper production.
There are no currently operating copper mines in the NT, although copper exploration is active and a number of projects are subject to feasibility studies.
Past production and identified copper resources are located within four main geological provinces - the Pine Creek Orogen, McArthur Basin, Warramunga Province and Arunta Region.
Pine Creek Orogen and McArthur Basin
In the Pine Creek Orogen, there are deformed sediment-hosted and VMS-style deposits, with the largest known copper resource at the Browns polymetallic deposit near Rum Jungle. The McArthur Basin has had production from volcanic-hosted breccia pipes at Redbank near the Queensland border, and has high potential for sediment-hosted deposits.
The Warramunga Province hosts the Tennant Creek mineral field, where the majority of the Territory’s copper production has been sourced from ironstone-hosted gold-copper-bismuth deposits, particularly from the Warrego, Gecko and Peko mines. Significant copper-gold resources remain the Tennant Creek field, and the associated Rover field, 70 km to the south west.
The largest known copper resource in the Arunta Region is in the Jervois copper-silver field northeast of Alice Springs, where a resource of 330,000t of contained copper is spatially associated with lead-zinc orebodies. The deposit has been described as a hybrid VMS-SEDEX deposit, with some affinities to Broken Hill-style mineralisation.
There are numerous other copper deposits in the Arunta Region, with a variety of styles including vein-hosted, iron-oxide copper-gold and massive sulfide deposits. The province is underexplored and is an important greenfield copper province.
Other provinces with significant but largely untested copper potential include the Amadeus Basin, Musgrave Province, Kalkarindji Province, Lawn Hill platform and Davenport Province.
Last updated: 03 May 2016