McArthur River Mine Gets Expansion Approval

Image courtesy of [dan] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Minister for Mines and Energy, Willem Westra van Holthe, has revealed that the Mining Management Plan for the McArthur River Mine (MRM) Phase 3 Development Project has been given the go ahead.

Image courtesy of [dan] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of [dan] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“This is fantastic news for the Territory economy and Territorians. Working with MRM we are making real economic progress and delivering jobs to the bush,” Mr Westra van Holthe said.

Speaking yesterday at the Katherine Regional Mining and Exploration Forum, Mr Westra van Holthe believes the project was going to be worth $369 million and see an increase of 300 jobs at the mine site.

“MRM’s Phase 3 will extend the life of the mine by nine years to 2036 and increase mine production from 2.5 million tonnes to 5.5 million tonnes per year from 2014. With the approval of Phase 3, MRM will become the largest zinc resource in the world. MRM and their parent company Glencore Xstrata have committed to spending 75 per cent of capital expenditure and 100 per cent of operational expenditure for the project with Northern Territory suppliers and industry.

Xstrata plc Executive Director and Xstrata Zinc Chief Executive Santiago Zaldumbide believe the highly capital and energy efficient, brownfield growth expansion will secure MRM’s position as one of the world’s premier zinc mines.

“When we acquired the McArthur River Mine in 2003 as part of our Mount Isa Mines acquisition, Xstrata inherited an uneconomic asset with an estimated mine life of less than five years, rising costs and an underground operation that could only exploit two of the eight available ore bodies. Following our conversion of the operation into a 2.5mtpa open cut mine with a 15 year life in 2010 to open up access to MRM’s vast resource, the Phase 3 project will enable us to unlock fully its potential,” said Mr Zaldumbide.

Mr Westra van Holthe has noted that over the life span of the mine, the expansion is set to boost industry output by $8.4 billion within the Northern Territory economy.

“We have the capacity to produce 2.5 million tonnes of ore from our open pit operation per annum, supplying 70% of global demand for high-grade zinc-lead-silver concentrate,” revealed a statement on the MRM website.

MRM is located 900 kilometres south-east of Darwin in the Gulf Region.