GlencoreXstrata’s $360 million expansion plans for its McArthur River mine have been given the green light by the Northern Territory Government.
The mine’s phase three development project will more than double zinc and lead production numbers, making it one of the largest zinc producers globally.
The expansion will take capacity from 2.5 million tonnes of ore to 5.5 million tonnes annually from 2014.
"The project will increase annual zinc production to 380 000 tonnes and lead production to 93 000 tonnes," Xstrata said last year.
Located about 1,000 kilometres south-west of Darwin the expansion is estimated to create an additional 300 jobs.
"We expect the MRM Phase 3 Development Project to generate a 67% increase in jobs on site to 735 positions by 2020, sustain a high level of indigenous workforce participation (currently 23%) and boost industry output by AUD8.4 billion within the Northern Territory economy and $9.3 billion nationally over the life of mine," Xstrata Zinc Australia COO Brian Hearne said in August.
The expansion will double the depth down from 210 metres to 420 metres.
NT mines minister Willem Westra Van Holthe made the announcement at a mining forum in Katherine yesterday.
He said the project will deliver income to the region's mining services industry.
The minister said he is confident the expansion will not cause any environmental problems.
According to the ABC, the plans have already secured federal approval.
But a GlencoreXstrata spokesperson told Australian Mining the expansion plans do not require federal approval.
"The project does not require approval from the Commonwealth Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities under the EPBC Act," the spokesperson said.
The expansion will also see additional processing technology added allowing it to produce a separate zinc concentrate for the first time.