There is a gold rush among miners exploring for new deposits in the Northern Territory.
Spending on mineral exploration in the NT in the March 2019 quarter was $27 million - up 20 per cent compared to the March 2018 quarter.
The NT Government welcomed the release of Australian Bureau of Statistics data showing the rise in spending.
These results are also the highest mineral exploration expenditure for a March quarter (typically the weakest month for activity due to the wet season) since the March quarter of 2012 during the last mining boom.
The ABS data shows more than half of the March 2019 quarter mineral exploration spend was on gold.
The dominance of gold spending may switch to shale gas in future figures with the all-clear granted this month for companies to resume their search after the moratorium was lifted.
The government says $14 million was spent on gold exploration - meaning the March 2019 quarter was the highest expenditure ever recorded for gold exploration in a March quarter.
These strong results - building on the 35 per cent growth in mineral exploration expenditure in calendar year 2018 - follow the Government's investment of $26m over four years in exploration stimulus programs under the Resourcing the Territory initiative.
Primary Industry and Resources Minister Paul Kirby said: "These strong results continue the recent trend where growth in Territory mineral exploration expenditure is exceeding the national average.
"The resurgence in gold activity in the Territory is being backed by our Government with our recording breaking investment of $26 million over four years in Resourcing the Territory exploration stimulus programs.
"Our Government's investment in mineral exploration is hitting the ground across our regions - in places like Pine Creek, Central Australia, and the Barkly - helping to drive new investment, support businesses and create local jobs."