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McArthur River zinc mine

Operational Mines

The McArthur River mine is a zinc-lead mine, situated about 70 kilometres southwest of Borroloola, near the Gulf of Carpentaria in the northeastern Northern Territory, Australia. It is operated by McArthur River Mining (MRM), a subsidiary of the Swiss mining company Glencore. Although discovered in the 1950s, when it was originally called the HYC or "Here's Your Chance" deposit, it only opened as a mine in 1995. Initially an underground mining operation, the mine has been converted to open-cut.

Early history

The McArthur River zinc mine is based on one of the world's largest zinc, lead and silver deposits. Tom Lynott, the manager of McArthur River station is attributed with identifying the valuable metals in the area as early as 1887. Small mining ventures were attempted and failed due to the cost of transport. The deposit was proven in 1955 by a survey party from Mount Isa Mines (MIM) and named 'HYC' or 'Here’s Your Chance'. The name came out of a conversation between chief geologist Syd Carter and fellow geologist Ron Beresford who were reviewing the progress of the survey party in 1956. Bemoaning that Beresford was naming all the prospects, Carter asked him what the specific area of the zinc deposit was going to be named. Bereford replied "here's your chance Syd" to which Carter replied, "that will do."

Drilling continued during the 1960s. By 1977 the first feasibility studies commenced and a pilot operation and temporary work camp were established. Costs prohibited further development at the time, but by 1989 MIM Holdings were issued the necessary leases to bring the mine into operation. In 1992 it joined forces with Japanese consortium ANT Minerals to develop the mine, forming McArthur River Mining Pty Ltd to operate on their behalf. In November 1993, the McArthur River Project Agreement Ratification Act was passed by the Northern Territory Government and the mine was operational by 1995.

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