Phosphate and potash


The Northern Territory contains Australia’s largest undeveloped phosphate resources, with very large sedimentary phosphorite deposits defined in the Georgina Basin. 

This includes the deposits at Wonarah on the Barkly Highway, and Ammaroo, east of Barrow Creek, which together contain resources of around two billion tonnes of phosphate rock. 

These large deposits in the central Georgina Basin are middle Cambrian in age - 510 million years old - and form part of a regional phosphate-rich stratigraphic interval that extends over 500 000 km2 in the NT and into western Queensland. A third significant phosphate resource is located at the Highland Plains deposit near the Queensland border.

The larger phosphate deposits in the Georgina Basin have been the subject of scoping and feasibility studies for a range of development options, including export of beneficiated phosphate rock, production of superphosphoric acid or development of fertiliser products.

Phosphate-rich tectonic-related breccias are present in the vicinity of Batchelor eg Geolsec deposit, within the Pine Creek orogen. Phosphate is also an important component of the Nolans Bore apatite-hosted rare earth elements deposit in the Arunta Region near Aileron.


Significant potential for potash resources occurs within brines in aquifers associated with salt lakes in central Australia. The Karinga Lakes potash project, approximately 200–300 km southwest of Alice Springs, contains hundreds of salt lakes that contain brines enriched in salts containing potassium, magnesium and sulfate. These have potential for the production of potassium sulfate (SOP) and potassium magnesium sulfate (schoenite). The current resource at Karinga Lakes comprises 8.4 Mt of SOP which equates to a maximum schoenite resource of 19 Mt.

Last updated: 03 May 2016


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