Geothermal titles and activities

Before exploration

This page has information about where you can drill for geothermal energy in the NT, and what you must do before you can explore, including information about permits.

Where you can drill

Most areas of the NT are open to geothermal exploration. The Geothermal Map NT (1.3 mb) shows details. 

Drilling is not allowed on reserved blocks in and around Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. Special conditions apply to land within parks and reserves.

When exploring on a pastoral lease, exploration permit applications may be subject to the Native Title Act.

When exploring on Aboriginal freehold land, exploration permit applications are subject to the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act.

Read more about land tenure and availability.

Aboriginal sacred sites must be avoided. You may need clearance from the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA). Go to the AAPA website for more information.

The NT Geological Survey's online tenure and geoscience information system, the Spatial Territory Resource Information Kit for Exploration (STRIKE) can help you identify areas suitable for exploration.  Go to the STRIKE website for more information.

Apply for a permit

Before exploration can begin, you must get a permit and satisfy the department that you have the skills and financial ability to undertake the work.

You will be assessed on the following factors:

  • the drilling sites chosen, and why
  • the proposed exploration activities for the first five-year term of the permit
  • how much will be spent on exploration, and on what sort of activities
  • ability to fund the work
  • technical expertise.

Read how to apply for a permit.

Get the forms you will need to apply for a permit.

When drilling can start

A permit will give you the right to occupy the permit area and exclusive rights for geothermal exploration in the area.

Exploration can only start after the permit has been granted, and you must follow the work program outlined in the application.

Renew a permit

Permits can be renewed for two further five-year terms.

Renewal applications must be submitted three to six months before the existing permit's expiry date.

The permit will remain in force until a decision on the renewal is made.

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Last updated: 13 October 2017