The first ore heading to the port of Townsville may be a few weeks away yet but an official opening of MMG's Dugald River zinc mine on Wednesday was hailed as a significant event.
Guests had a site tour before witnessing a ribbon cutting where the first production of finished zinc concentrate left the mine.
MMG’s chair Guo Wenqing and CEO Jerry Jiao conducted the cutting and Mr Jiao said the first concentrate from Dugald River was an important milestone for the Project.
“I congratulate MMG staff and contractors for their hard work in delivering the US$550 million project - under budget and ahead of schedule,” Mr Jiao said.
“By taking the time to understand the characteristics of this complex deposit, we have delivered the right plan and invested at the right time. We remain positive about the long-term fundamentals for zinc and Dugald River has come into production at a time of tightening global supply and rising prices."
At full production Dugald River will be one of the top 10 zinc mines in the world.
Mr Jiao thanked the State Government, Cloncurry Shire Council and North West communities of the North West as well as major shareholder, China Minmetals Corporation and China Development Bank who helped financed the project.
Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell hailed the opening as a significant moment for the shire.
“The zinc deposit here has been known about for a long time but took a while to get off the ground,” he said.
Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter welcomed the opening but was focussed on making sure the company delivered on their promise to hire local workers.
MMG’ Dugald River manager Pierre Malan said they would be here for 30 years and needed to do more to source their workforce from Cloncurry and Mount Isa before hiring FIFO from their Townsville base.
Located 65km north-west of Cloncurry, Dugald River will process an average 1.7 million tonnes per annum of ore to initially produce 170,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate, plus by-products.