Zinc, Lead, Silver mine with trucks

Zinc, Lead and Silver

The Northern Territory is a major zinc producer, with the McArthur Basin forming part of the Carpentaria Zinc Belt, the world’s most productive zinc province that extends to Mount Isa in Queensland.
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Total production
4.42 Mt Zn, 1.19 Mt Pb, 31.02 Moz Ag
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2018/19 production
271 200 t Zn, 55 300 t Pb, 1.67 Moz Ag
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Remaining JORC resources
>16.1 Mt Zn, 7.2 Mt Pb, 236 Moz Ag
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Value of production in 2019/20
$794.7 million
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Production ranking in Australia

The one operating mine is McArthur River, the world’s fourth largest zinc mine, which is also a major producer of lead and silver. The McArthur Basin also contains the 2013 Teena zinc discovery, which is Australia’s largest zinc discovery this century.

The Pine Creek Orogen, Aileron Province and Bonaparte Basin also have known resources and high potential for polymetallic zinc, lead and silver deposits. The Lawn Hill Platform, which hosts the Century zinc mine in Queensland, also extends into the Northern Territory.

View the zinc, lead and silver factsheet PDF (992.3 KB)


For more information go to McArthur River mine.

Remaining JORC Resources: 163 Mt at 9.9% Zn, 4.4% Pb and 45 g/t Ag

The McArthur River mine has been in operation since 1995, and has a remaining mine life of 30 years. The ‘Sedex’-style deposit occurs as fine-grained thinly bedded sulfide ore hosted in the 1640 million year old Barney Creek Formation of the McArthur Basin.

The open cut mining operation produces zinc and zinc-lead concentrate, which is exported from the Port of Bing Bong on the Gulf of Carpentaria.


JORC resources


Other companies exploring for zinc in the McArthur Basin include Marindi Metals LtdGPM Metals Inc. and Rio Tinto Exploration.

In approvals process

  • Hayes Creek – PNX Metals 4.1 Mt @ 4.35% Zn, 0.91% Pb, 1.8 g/t Au, 124 g/t Ag, 0.25% Cu

Under feasibility

  • Browns sulfide – NT Resources Pty Ltd 45.1 Mt @ 3.74% Pb, 0.73% Zn, 0.35% Cu, 0.09% Co, 0.07% Ni

Exploration results

  • Hayes Creek – PNX Metals Iron Blow: 85.2m @ 11.87% Zn, 4.19 g/t Au, 1.94% Pb, 309 g/t Ag, 0.49% Cu

JORC resources

  • Hendrix - Todd River Resources Ltd 2.6 Mt @ 6.7% Zn, 0.9% Cu, 1.5% Pb, 35 Ag g/t
  • Home of Bullion - Wesfarmers Ltd 2.5 Mt @ 1.8% Cu, 2.0% Zn, 1.2% Pb, 36 g/t Ag, 0.14 g/t Au, 0.02% Co

Exploration results

JORC resources

JORC resources

More information

  • Blaikie and Kunzmann 2019. From source to trap. Geophysical insights into base metals mineralisation in the southern McArthur Basin. AGES 2019 Proceedings.
  • Kunzmann and Blaikie 2019. The ca 1640 Ma Barney Creek Formation in the McArthur Basin: Targeting diagenetic mineralisation and depocentre shift. AGES 2019 Proceedings.
  • Spinks et al 2019. Ultra-high resolution trace element mapping provides new clues on the origin of the McArthur River (HYC) sediment-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag deposit. AGES 2019 Proceedings.
  • Sheldon et al 2019. An integrated study of the McArthur River mineral system: From geochemistry, geophysics and sequence stratigraphy to basin-scale models of fluid flow. AGES 2019 Proceedings.
  • McGloin, 2017. The significance of metaexhalites, seafloor alteration and retrograde processes for metamorphosed mineral deposits: examples of distinct alteration styles from the Aileron Province. AGES 2017 Proceedings.
  • Hussey et al, 2005. Geology and origin of some Cu-Pb-Zn (-Au-Ag) deposits in the Strangways metamorphic complex, Arunta Region, Northern Territory. NTGS Report 17.
  • Search for further NTGS reports on zinc, lead and silver.

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