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The Mount Isa (Cu orebodies) in north central Queensland belongs to the giant global mining company, Glencore Xstrata. Glencore Xstrata is the fourth largest copper producer in the world and among the word's largest refiners of copper metal. Mount Isa Copper Mines include the enterprise and X41 underground operations. The Enterprise Mine is Australia's deepest underground mine, reaching a depth of 1,900 metres.

Mining Began at Mount Isa in 1924
The Mount Isa mining operation began when a prospector named John Campbell Miles discovered lead and silver ore there in 1923. Mining of the ore began in 1924 and the company Mount Isa Mines (MIM) was born. Throughout its early years MIM concentrated on producing silver, lead and zinc but it did produce copper during the Second World War. However, parallel production of copper, zinc, lead and silver did not take place until 1953.

Xstrata Continues with Continual Upgrading of the Mount Isa (Cu Orebodies)
During the period from 1969 to 1974 Mount Isa Mines undertook a considerable expansion program. This involved further development of its copper ore bodies and upgrading of its Townsville refinery that significantly boosted its production of copper. The next major expansion program occurred late in the 1990's when MIM spent almost one billion dollars developing two new mines and a further upgrade of the copper smelters and the Townsville refinery. MIM was acquired by global mining company Xstrata in mid 2003. Xstrata Copper took several steps soon after acquiring the operation to increase the copper production from its Mount Isa (Cu orebodies) which has resulted in the Mount Isa copper smelter now having the capacity to process 300,000 tonnes of copper ore a year. It has more latterly undergone a comprehensive smelter emissions project that has considerably decreased emissions.

Mount Isa Mines began the development of ore bodies located between levels 36 and 21 in the late 1980's. This required the construction of a ramp from U62 loading station and the fitting of an improved hoisting system that included an ABB-Kiruna electric truck. The Enterprise underground copper mine, that was developed in 1996, was designed to raise MIM copper production to 3.5 million tonnes annually. Further development involved the M62 shaft to a depth of 713 metres in 2000 along with paste backfill plants and refrigeration being completed in 2001. In mid 2004 the then new owner of Mount Isa (Cu Orebodies) gave approval for development of the Northern 3,500 copper ore body to enable the operation to maintain a supply capacity of 5.3 million tonnes of ore grading at 4.5 percent for 11 years beginning in 2006. This improvement allowed the Enterprise Mine to fill its concentrator throughput of a planned 3.5 million tonnes a year.

Ernest Henry Mine Becomes Part of Mount Isa (Cu Orebodies) Production
Mount Isa (Cu Orebodies) also includes the Ernest Henry Mine (EHM) that is a copper gold and magnetite operation with its own processing plant 38 kilometres north of Cloncurry. The Ernest Henry Mine was upgraded in 2009 by Xstrata Copper to have its mine of life extended to at least 2024. This is being achieved through changing from an open pit to an underground operation. The underground mine commenced production at the end of 2011 with an initial production rate of three million tonnes of ore a year from decline access. When the shaft is completed in 2013 the production level will increase to six million tonnes that will produce 50,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate annually.

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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