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The McArthur River Mine, located near the Gulf of Carpentaria, in north east Northern Territory 70 kilometres from Borroloola, is one of the world's largest lead, silver and zinc mines, mining the 'Here's Your Chance' orebody, one of the worlds largest zinc and lead deposits that covers two square kilometres and is 55 metres thick in size. The mine is owned and operated by McArthur River Mining Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of GlencoreXstrata, one of the world's largest mining companies.

McArthur River Mine Began as an Underground Operation in 1995
The McArthur River Mine began in 1995 as an underground mining operation. Development of the current open cut mine began during the 2007/2008 period. GlencoreXstrata is the largest bulk producer of zinc concentrate in the world, producing up to 70 percent of the world's needs. Zinc concentrate from the McArthur River Mine, averaging 46 percent zinc, is used to produce zinc and lead alloys and metals in Europe and Asia by refineries who use Imperial Smelting Process smelters. The concentrate is taken from the McArthur River Mine processing plant's, Bing Bong loading facility, by road, to a barge that takes it out to sea where it is loaded onto ships moored in deep water channels, off the Gulf of Carpentaria coast.

New Zinc Concentrate Expands McArthur River Mine Market

The company began producing a new zinc concentrate in 2009. This has come about through technological advancement made to the concentrator plant that allowed it to produce a low lead concentrate product found suitable for refining in electrolytic smelters. This has allowed the McArthur River Mine concentrate to be sold to an expanding new market.

McArthur River Mine Being Developed in Six Stages
The McArthur River Mine open pit is being developed in six stages. The first three stages focused on the shallowest ore that was mined in the usual open cut method of drilling, blasting loading and hauling. After blasting the overburden is excavated in horizontal benches until the ore body is exposed. The ore is then removed and taken to the processing plant. Separating the waste from the ore is carried out during the mining process. This allows only relative good quality ore having to be processed.

550 Tonne Excavaors Used at the McArthur River Mine

The excavators used at the McArthur River open cut mine have a capacity to hold 550 tonne loads. These are used to load 175 and 220 tonne haulage trucks that remove either waste or ore from the pit to be placed in stockpiles. Most of the overburden is stored is an overburden emplacement facility (OEF) that has been set aside north of the mine itself so it can be used again during the rehabilitation of the mine when it is finally mined out.

Xstrata Acquired McArthur River Mine in 2003
The McArthur River Mine was acquired by Xstrata in 2003. In 2005 it acquired the shares held by ANT Minerals which gave it 100 percent ownership. A review of the project undertaken by Xstrata soon after taking over full ownership indicated the mine would be better developed as an open cut operation. The underground mine was near completion anyway and it finally ceased production in April 2006.

In late January 2012 Xstrata announced it intended to increase the workforce at the McArthur River Mine by 67 percent. This would create 295 new jobs at the mine bringing the total employment number to 735 by 2020, when the mine should be at its peak production level. The mine has an estimated life of mine until 2027.

Note- GlencoreXstrata was formed following a merger of Glencore International and Xstrata, the merger was completed in May 2013. But a decision was made by the Company's shareholders during the annual general meeting and the announcement was made in May 2014 that Glencore will drop Xstrata and be simply known as Glencore.


Glencore dates back to 1974 as Marc Rich & Co, focused on minerals, metals and crude oil. In the 1980's Glencore added coal to their portfolio. Glencore is one of the worlds largest natural resource companies with more than 90 offices in over 50 countries, over 150 mining and metallurgical more


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