A potential 1.5mtpa zinc mine, processing, rail and export project has been given “prescribed project” status by the Queensland Government.
State development minister and minister for natural resources and mines Anthony Lynham granted the status to MMG’s Dugald River zinc project on April 22.
The $1.4bn project is based on undeveloped zinc-lead-silver deposits with an estimated resource of 53mt.
At peak production of 1.5mtpa processed into 160,000 tonnes of zinc a year, Dugald River would be one of the world’s top 10 zinc mines.
The project includes the mine, concentrator processing plant, maintenance workshops, accommodation and administration, and road, rail and port logistics to export from Townsville.
MMG, whose majority stakeholder is China Minmetals, anticipates production starting in the first half of 2018.
The special status granted last week is aimed at reducing red tapes to expedite the development and construction process.
“Projects like Dugald River are critical to economic development and job creation in the north-west during these tough times caused by ongoing resource commodity price lows,” Dr Lynham said.
“Granting it prescribed project status will allow the Coordinator-General to assist MMG to navigate processes and timely approvals through government.”
MMG says Dugald River will create 600 jobs during construction, and about 400 jobs once the zinc mine is operational.
MMG welcomed the prescribed project status.
Chief executive Andrew Michelmore said the company appreciated the strong support from the Queensland Government.
“This decision will support MMG to deliver one of the world’s highest-grade zinc deposits at a time of tightening global zinc supply,” Michelmore said.
“The development of Dugald River is expected to provide significant employment, economic and revenue benefits to Cloncurry and Queensland over an expected mine life of more than 30 years.
“MMG has a proud history in Queensland through the operation of the Century mine and we look forward to working with the state and local governments to make this project a success.”