The Borroloola region in which MRM is based is discovered to be rich in natural mineralisation.
The mining of lead surface outcrops in the area commences in approximately 1910. The Northern Territory Mines Department explores the area in 1911 and an assay office is set up in the Barney Hill area to research the mineralisation in the area.
The "Here's Your Chance" (HYC) deposit is discovered by two geologists travelling through the region. The name comes from a remark made at the time of the discovery. Realising that they had found a major deposit, one geologist turned to the other and said: "you have always wanted to name a mine. Here's your chance."
An intensive drilling program establishes that the Here’s Your Chance deposit is a significant one.
The first feasibility study is commenced on the deposit with the construction of a pilot plant and temporary camp accommodation. A detailed feasibility and environmental report is submitted to the Northern Territory Government in 1979. The feasibility study concludes that the project should be deferred due to the high capital costs.
The project is re-evaluated on the basis of producing a single high-grade bulk zinc/lead/silver concentrate suitable for feeding to Imperial Smelting Process smelters. Mining is to be carried out by an underground operation removing only the high-grade ore-bodies.
MIM Holdings forms a joint venture with Japanese consortium ANT Minerals comprising Nippon, Mitsui and Marubeni to develop the resource. A full feasibility study is completed and the decision made to proceed with the McArthur River project. McArthur River Mining Pty Ltd is formed to operate the mine on behalf of the joint venture partners.
The McArthur River Project Agreement Ratification Act is passed by the Northern Territory Government.
MRM commences commercial operations with an underground mine and processing plant. The first ore is processed in June.
The Bing Bong Loading Facility loads the first shipment of concentrate onto the MV Aburri in the second week August. Three barge loads are placed on the Akra Sounian export vessel anchored 20 nautical miles offshore ready for export.
The first MRM Charity Golf Day is held, raising $8000 for charity.
The 100 km of underground channels are becoming uneconomical, with most of the accessible underground ore having been fully extracted.
Feasibility studies are commissioned to investigate options including an open pit development, on-site zinc refinery, power station and a weir on a local river.
Terms of Reference for an Environmental Impact Statement for the mine development are released.
In July MIM is acquired by Xstrata plc.
Xstrata acquires ANT Minerals’ share in MRM in September to now wholly own the operation.
After a review by Xstrata Zinc, it is decided an expansion will proceed but only as an open pit operation. Growing world demand for zinc and improved refining methods, coupled with reduced operating costs and improved quality of MRM's bulk concentrate product, supports the decision to make a further investment in the mine.
A test pit is established in July began to provide a bulk sample of the ore for metallurgical testing. The test pit enables identification of the various ore types and their processing requirements, as well as the relevant geotechnical and mining conditions that are likely to be encountered.
An EIS is lodged as part of a formal assessment process, followed by the submission of an EIS Supplement in December. If approved, the project would extend the mine’s life from 2010 out to 2027.
Stage A of the Test Pit has exhausted its supply of ore by the end of March 2006. Surface ore stockpiles from various sources enables milling to continue into May 2006 before the supplies run out. To avoid retrenching the mine workforce and closing the mine, MRM obtains approval to extend the Test Pit so it can continue mining and milling operations until a decision is made on the Open Cut Project.
A Public Environmental Report is lodged in July and the Northern Territory Government approves the open pit development in October. Later that same month, the Australian Government provides its consent under theEnvironmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Open pit site works begin, with completion due in late 2008. Key features include construction of the Southern Anabranch to the bund wall to allow the open pit to be expanded, completion of new benchmark studies into local and migratory birds, fish populations and macroinvertebrates and rechanneling of the McArthur River and Barney Creek.
The Barney Creek rechannel is largely completed by the end of the year and rehabilitation works begin.
A $50 million expansion of the concentrator to increase capacity from an annual throughput of 1.8 million tonnes of ore to 2.5 million tonnes is announced in March.
The MRM Community Benefits Trust is established in July, with a promise to provide $32 million to deliver economic and social benefits to the region over the life of the mine.
The first Independent Environmental Monitor is appointed in October.
The two haul road bridges over the Barney Creek diversion are commissioned, significantly reducing the time taken for overburden to be hauled to the waste rock pile.
The McArthur River channel is completed, along with the levee wall to protect the mine from the ingress of floodwater.
MRM is named Mine of the Year at the 5th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.
Mining is suspended in December after legal questions are raised about the approval process.
MRM resubmits its application to the Federal Environment Minister and, on 22 January, the Minister gives preliminary conditional approval for the expansion subject to a 10-day consultation period.
Stockpiled ore is processed while mining was suspended but is depleted by 23 January, and the mine is placed into care and maintenance. On 20 February, the Minister approves the open pit development and operations recommence.
Borroloola’s first renal dialysis unit opens with assistance from MRM. Later in the year, the Borroloola Swimming Pool is opened, again with the support of MRM.
As the year progresses it is announced that technological advances to the concentrator have enabled the production of a new zinc concentrate, opening up a new international market.
MRM’s Emergency Response Team dominates the North Australian Emergency Rescue Competition taking home four out of six events and winning best overall team.
Xstrata announces plans to investigate the phase 3 Development of MRM. The project includes an expansion of pit and production facilities, doubling annual production and securing the mine's future out to 2036. Exhaustive studies are undertaken throughout the year in preparation for the submission of an Environmental Impact Statement.
MRM and the NT Government sign a $1 million partnership agreement to boost education and training in the Gulf region. The Strong Start Bright Future program will provide accredited training at Borroloola School, computers and attendance rewards. The agreement will also see local students trained for future jobs at MRM.
With rehabilitation continuing on the McArthur River and Barney Creek channels, forest and woodland birds are recorded returning to the adjacent land and a freshwater sawfish is sighted within the channel for the first time. The first locally produced tube stock for revegetation is sourced from Seven Emus Station.
The Environmental Impact Statement for the Phase 3 Development is lodged with the Government in January, signaling an increase in the operational workforce by 67% and creating 295 new jobs.
In January, MRM’s parent company Xstrata agrees to a merger with Glencore, one of the world’s largest diversified natural resource companies.
MRM’s mining fleet is upgraded, increasing haul capacity from 110-135 to 180-220 tonnes per truck.
The Heavy Medium Plant is commissioned, improving the quality of materials fed into the concentrator.
The li-Anthawirriyarra Sea Ranger Unit hosts the first of its annual Turtle Camps with financial support from the MRM Community Benefits Trust. The ecotourism trial opens the door to tourism ventures on West Island.
MRM becomes part of Glencore Xstrata plc following the successful completion of the merger. The merger makes MRM part of a global operation that is able to capture value at every stage of the supply chain.
Migratory bird studies around the Bing Bong Loading Facility record large increases in bird life, particularly the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.
The Bing Bong Concentrate Shed is upgraded to allow for storage of 90,000 tonnes, in line with the Phase 3 Development.
The Borroloola Rodeo Grounds are upgraded with a $175,000 grant from the MRM Community Benefits Trust.
The Phase 3 Development Project is completed, and operations begin ramping up to nameplate capacity.
Borroloola teenagers Bryce Rory and Joel Bradford begin their careers as school-based apprentice at MRM – the first full graduates of the Strong Start Bright Future program.
MRM begins implementing the Glencore Safework program in a push to achieve zero harm across our operation.
MRM introduces the Healthy Living Initiative to promote health and safety to its workforce and extend those programs to Borroloola.
The MV Aburri undergoes a major refit after almost 20 years of service.
MRM’s annual Charity Golf Days raise a record $100,000 for charities.
MRM celebrates one year with no lost time injuries.
A new Indigenous Traineeship Program is launched to bring more locals to join the MRM workforce.
MRM celebrates two years with no lost time injuries.