From humble beginnings to becoming a prominent provider of minerals and resources in Queensland, Mount Isa Mines has been a part of North West Queensland’s story for 100 years.

With the establishment of Mount Isa Mines in January 1924, Mount Isa transformed from a small miner’s camp to a community. It was the year commerce began in earnest, and the year the community made important investments in community infrastructure including accommodation, a general store, a school and a hospital.

Take a look at the key moments that have shaped our journey.

  • 1923: Discovery
    Mount Isa Mines originated with the discovery of lead-silver ore by prospector John Campbell Miles.
  • 1924: Formation of Mount Isa Mines
    The Mount Isa Mines Limited company was established to develop the discovered mineral deposits.
  • 1926: Rail Transportation
    Construction commenced on the railway branch line from Duchess to Mount Isa.
  • 1927: Another Find
    Copper was discovered in Diamond Drill Cores.
  • 1929: New Beginnings
    In April, the railway was officially opened. Construction of the plant began in July this same year.
  • 1931: Commencement of operations
    Mining operations officially began, with the initial focus on lead, silver and zinc.
  • 1937: Copper discovery
    Copper ore deposits were discovered at Mount Isa. Development to access the Copper Ore body commenced.
  • 1943: World War II
    Mount Isa Mines played a crucial role during World War II, supplying strategic metals like zinc, copper and lead for the war effort.
  • 1950s: Copper Production
    Between 1950-1953, Mount Isa Mines began the Copper Production Infrastructure construction. In September of 1953, MIM commenced copper production activities.
  • 1960s: Diversification
    Mount Isa Mines continued to expand and diversify its operations, becoming a major producer of copper, lead, zinc and silver.
  • 1970s: Smelting operations
    The company invested in increasing smelting facilities to process and refine the extracted ores onsite. MIM continued the development of copper mining at the south end of the mine, commonly known as X1.
  • 1981: MIM Holdings formation
    Mount Isa Mines Limited merged with other companies to form MIM Holdings Limited, broadening its scope beyond Mount Isa.
  • 1990s: Technological advances
    Mount Isa Mines embraced technological advancements in mining and processing to improve efficiency and environmental sustainability.
  • 2003: Xstrata acquisition
    Xstrata, a Swiss-based global mining company, acquired MIM Holdings, including Mount Isa Mines.
  • 2013: Glencore merger
    Xstrata merged with Glencore International, creating Glencore Xstrata plc. This merger had implications for Mount Isa Mines' ownership and operations.
  • 2016: Transition to Glencore
    The company officially became known as Glencore Mount Isa Mines, reflecting its integration into the Glencore group.

  • 2020s: Ongoing operations
    Mount Isa Mines continued its mining and processing operations, adapting to changes in the global mining industry and maintaining its status as a significant producer of base metals.

Our history

In February 1923, prospector John Campbell Miles discovered lead ore while travelling through the region now known as Mount Isa. The ore he discovered was assayed in Cloncurry and found to contain a high percentage of lead.

Convinced of the importance of his discovery, he quickly pegged out a lease which he named Mount Isa. As word spread of his discovery, prospectors moved into the region, pegging out 118 leases by the end of 1923. Mount Isa Mines Ltd was established in January 1924.

Read more about the history of Mount Isa Mines.

Our celebrations

Throughout the decades, Mount Isa Mines has been a cornerstone, driving economic prosperity and forging connections that extend far beyond our borders. As we reflect on a century of hard work, innovation, and community spirit, we honour the pioneers who laid the foundation and the generations that have built upon it.

The 100-year jubilee promises a year-long celebration, featuring events that encapsulate the essence of Mount Isa's unique heritage. From historical exhibitions showcasing our evolution to community festivals that bring together neighbours old and new, we invite you to be a part of this extraordinary journey.

Let us come together to share stories, celebrate achievements, and look towards a future that builds upon the strength and unity that define Mount Isa.

As we raise our glasses to a century gone by, let us also raise our hopes for the countless chapters yet to be written in Mount Isa's vibrant story. Join us in honouring the past, celebrating the present, and embracing the future as we embark on this once-in-a-lifetime journey through Mount Isa's 100-year jubilee!

Our stories

Since our beginnings in outback North West Queensland, so many people from Australia and around the world have been part of the Mount Isa Mines journey. From the heartfelt to the historic, the inspiring to the extraordinary, their stories have helped shape our business into what it is today.

Read about the people that have shaped our business, from grassroots to where we are now.