Our history

Highly visible lead surface outcrops made it obvious to graziers and early visitors as far back as 1888 that one of the Northern Territory’s most remote regions was rich in minerals.

However, substantial mining of the resource did not eventuate until more than a century later when the mine opened in 1995.

Early mining efforts

Mining of lead on the surface began around 1910, but several small ventures failed due to the cost of transport.

The Northern Territory Mines Department explored the area in 1911 and an assay office was set up near Barney Hill to test the purity of metals in the region.

Early drilling at McArthur River Mine.

Big chance develops slowly

It was not until 1955 that a survey party from Mount Isa Mines discovered the rich deposit forming the site of the future McArthur River Mine, naming it the HYC (Here’s Your Chance) deposit.

It took a further 40 years before McArthur River Mine would go into commercial production, thanks to the invention of IsaMill technology. It enabled fine-grained ore from the deposit to be ground down to a size to release the precious metals contained in it.

Learn more about Glencore-owned IsaMill technology which is still in use around the world today.

The introduction of IsaMill technology in the 1990s aided the viability of mining at McArthur River Mine.

Expansion ensures long life

Originally an underground mining operation, the mine converted to open cut in 2006. Glencore assumed full ownership of the mine in 2012.

In 2013, the Northern Territory Government approved a major expansion to double size and production. The project has progressed through mine management planning and environment approvals.

The expansion will involve revolutionary PBOX Technology, invented at McArthur River Mine to separate lead and zinc from bulk concentrate. It will make a significant contribution to the Northern Territory and national economies, increasing the mine workforce and extending mine life to 2038.

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