Glencore McArthur River Mining
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Phase 3 development project 

In June 2013, the Northern Territory Government announced approval of our USD360 million (AUD360 million) investment into expanding MRM.

The MRM Phase 3 Development Project proposes increasing capacity from 2.5 million tonnes of ore per annum to 5.5 million tonnes and increasing production from 360,000 dry metric tonnes to 800,000 dry metric tonnes per annum.

The products comprise both the bulk zinc-lead concentrate historically produced by MRM and a zinc concentrate made possible by advances in processing technology on site. In total, an average of 383kt of zinc, 93kt of lead and 110t of silver in concentrate will be produced annually.

The approval follows a comprehensive, 16-month, Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) period where more than 40 detailed baseline studies were undertaken of flora, fauna, land resources, surface water, groundwater, air quality, noise, traffic and cultural heritage.

The project involves:

  • increasing MRM’s mine plan to 112 million tonnes at 5.5 million tonnes per year
  • extending the life of mine by eleven years from 2027 to 2038
  • expanding the current pit within the existing bund from a footprint of 145 hectares to 210 hectares and the depth from 210 metres to 420 metres
  • increasing our operational workforce by 67% at its peak from 440 currently to 735 by 2020 and sustaining a high level of Indigenous workforce participation
  • extending the life of our MRM Community Benefits Trust to 2038
  • increasing the capacity of the existing tailings storage facility, including an already planned, new, lined water management dam
  • generating approximately 530 million tonnes of additional overburden to be accommodated in one existing and two new overburden emplacement facilities
  • building a new gas fired power station at the mine to increase capacity to 40 MW
  • building a temporary construction camp and upgrading existing accommodation facilities.

The project is expected to boost industry output by $8.4 billion within the Northern Territory economy and $9.3 billion nationally during the construction, operation and decommissioning periods. This includes the benefits of direct and indirect investment and employment as well as all goods and services procured.

New Energy Supply Contract

We have also secured a 20-year electricity supply agreement with Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) to develop a new gas-fired power station at MRM generating 40MW per annum to service the expanded operations.

The operation requires 22MW of additional power. EDL built the current 20MW power station at MRM in 1995 and has reliably operated and managed the facility since. EDL will now install six new gas fired generators providing the full 40MW of capacity required. The existing power station facility will be retained for use in peak load conditions.

The new supply agreement with EDL will commence from 2014 and follows a competitive tender process.