Australia’s iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart has hailed the global potential of Northern Australia and described it as world class and the ‘last great development opportunities’ in the world.

Addressing 100 business leaders at an investment forum at the NT Parliament House in Darwin, she said that even though the resources sector is down, Northern Australia still holds hope as one of the world’s last great development opportunities, reports The ABC.

Rinehart is an ex-Forbes lister and director of Hancock Prospecting. She referred to the cyclicity in resources and said, it has been a constant feature in Australia’s past.

Rinehart said: “The Territory has more than 200 trillion cubic feet of gas, and enough gas to power Australia for more than 200 years.”

NT Deputy Chief Minister Peter Styles said the region’s booming trade ties with Asia had been its strength.

“For the next century we believe that the Northern Australia, with its untapped 17 million hectares of arable soil, 40 percent of the Australian land mass and around 60 per cent of Australia’s rainfall and of course 90 per cent of Australia’s gas reserves, will drive Australia’s prosperity,” Styles said.

Meanwhile, a CSIRO team highlighted the high potential of the food industry in Northern Australia. They projected a positive picture of the region’s economic potential on the occasion of Darwin Food Futures Conference and expo of agricultural projects.

According to CSIRO researchers  Peter Stone, Gary Fitt, and Michael Robertson, Northern Australia is world’s fifth largest beef and sugar exporter. The reserves of 12 million cattle and 3,000 sugar farms are earning more than $3 billion each year.

But this only constitutes a fraction of the region’s total agri-potential. With rising global demand and proximity to Asian markets, Australia’s north is well-placed in augmenting economic benefits from faster agricultural production, noted an ABC report.