McArthur River Mining (MRM) is an Xstrata Zinc owned company and has been named as a finalist in the 5th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.
The mine, located in the NT, 900 kilometres southeast of Darwin, is one of the largest zinc and lead deposits in the world.
Each year the mine supplies around 70% of global demand for this feedstock which is used by Imperial smelting Process smelters in Europe and Asia to produce zinc and lead metal as well as alloys.
Originally an underground mine, it was soon realised that the easily accessible ore would no longer be available.
After months of intensive planning, it was decided the mine would be converted into an open-cut mine.
Currently, the open pit works are on track for completion in late 2008.
Significantly, the mine has already exceeded its initial targets, with a 16% increase in ore production.
Once the open pit works are complete, the mine will have the potential to generate Australian economic benefits of more than $10 billion over the next 20 years.
However, the mine has a lot more to offer to the Prospect Awards than increased production.
MRM has entered landmark agreements with the NT Government regarding the social and economic development of the region; willingly and constructively participated in an independent environmental monitoring review; and committed the mine to greater indigenous workforce participation.