Australian miner Minerals and Metal Group ( MMG ) has invested $157 million at the Dugald River zinc project, one of the largest zinc deposits in the world. The venture is located 85 kilometres north east of Mount Isa.
Once the mine is operational by 2014, it is expected to have an annual output of 200,000 tonnes of zinc, 25,000 tonnes of lead and 900,000 ounces of silver. The mine is expected to employ 500 people.
"That will fund the next stage of the project's development, which will include detailed engineering, metallurgical test work, the continuation of some early site works that have already commenced, including the underground exploration decline development, said MMG spokeswoman Sally Cox.
The venture is essential to MMG for the miner to make up for the pending closure in 2015 of its Century zinc mine in northwest Queensland which produces 500,000 tonnes of zinc.
MMG has Minmetal Resources ( MMR ) as partner in the venture. MMR is 75.6 per cent owned by China Minmetals Corporation, which is state-owned.
Meanwhile, the Kalkadoon people of the Mount Isa region won a native title claims covering 40,000 square kilometers in northwest Queensland in a federal court decision issued on Monday.
The people have held on the land claim for 18 years. With the decision made by Justice John Dowsett, the Kalkadoons would now be able to negotiate with pastoralists for access to their land for hunting, ceremonial purposed and to maintain sites.
The group is made up of about 3,000 people who come from 29 Aboriginal ancestors. The land includes Boulia, Burke, Carpentaria, Cioncurry, McKinlay and Mount Isa Council regions.