Zinc, lead and silver

The Northern Territory (NT) contains a variety of zinc-lead-silver mineral deposits that have produced over 3.2 Mt of zinc, 0.94 Mt of lead and approximately 30 million ounces of silver. 

Most defined zinc and lead resources and past production in the Northern Territory occur in the McArthur Basin and Pine Creek Orogen

Production

The majority of production has come from the world-class McArthur River mine, which is currently the only mine for these commodities in the NT. 

In 2014, production from McArthur River totalled 224,000t of zinc, 46,200t of lead and 1.46 million ounces of silver.

Geology

The McArthur Basin forms part of the world-class Carpentaria zinc province that extends to Mount Isa in Queensland where it includes major deposits such as Century, Lady Loretta and Mount Isa.

In the NT, apart from the giant McArthur River deposit, other major zinc deposits include Teena - discovered in 2013 - and Myrtle. These large deposits are stratiform sediment-hosted deposits within black shales. There remains significant potential for further discoveries, and large parts of the greater McArthur Basin remain underexplored.

In the Pine Creek Orogen, significant zinc and lead bearing deposits include Browns and Woodcutters - mined from 1984-1999 - near Batchelor, and Iron Blow near Hayes Creek.

Other provinces with high potential for zinc-lead-silver deposits are the Arunta Region, where the Jervois deposit is a resource containing 22.5 million ounces of silver and 143,000t of lead associated with a large copper resource, and Neoproterozoic to Palaeozoic basins such as the Amadeus, Georgina, Daly and Bonaparte basins that have potential for Mississippi Valley-style and other carbonate-hosted deposits.

Last updated: 13 October 2017