Glencore has received ministerial approval to continue its expansion plans at the McArthur River zinc-lead mine in Northern Australia, despite concerns of damage to sacred sites.
According to media reports, the approval will allow the miner to double the operational area of the mine, which produced 271,000mt of zinc and 55,300mt of lead in 2019. The expansion will also extend the life of the mine to 2048. However, Glencore must operate the mine in line with 30 recommendations made by the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority.
The McArthur River mine has been operational since 1995 and employs about 1,100 workers and contractors. Under the expansion plan, Glencore plans to increase ore throughput to 5.5mn mt per year. According to the last estimate, it contains 163mn mt of mineral deposits, grading 9.8pc zinc and 4.4pc lead.