Century Mine

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Century Mine
LocationMount Isa
ProductsLead and zinc concentrate
Opened1997 (1997)
CompanyMMG Century

Century Mine is a large open cut zinc, lead and silver mine 250 km northwest of Mount Isa in North West Queensland, Australia. It was built on Waanyi land. It was Australia’s largest open pit zinc mine. The mine was owned by Pasminco, then Zinifex, then OZ Minerals and then sold to MMG Century and is currently owned by New Century Resources.


Development of the mine commenced in 1997, previously being used for grazing purposes.[1] The mine began open-pit production in 1999.[2]

During the 2009 wet season contaminants including cadmium, zinc and dissolved sulfate were discharged from the mine into nearby Page Creek.[3] MMG Century was fined $130,000 for the breach.

Open-pit Mining was completed at Century in August 2015, with final processing of Century-sourced ore occurring in November 2015.[4][5] The last ore to be processed at Century was 450,000 tonnes that had been mined as part of the Dugald River mine’s stoping trial, and then trucked to Century. The processing of this ore was completed in January 2016.[6] The final shipment of zinc concentrate was exported from Karumba in late January 2016.[7]

During its 16 years of operation, Century was one of the largest zinc mines in the world, producing and processing an average of 475,000tpa zinc concentrates and 50,000tpa lead in concentrates at Lawn Hill. A single substantial tailings deposit exists at Century, generated from 16 years of large-scale operations from the Century open pit of 2,287,000 contained zinc tonnes.[citation needed]

New Century Resources is an Australian base metals development company which has restarted Century Mine operations from August 2018 with the aim of becoming one of world's top 10 zinc producers by extracting zinc from the tailings through a model of economic rehabilitation.[citation needed]


Zinc and lead concentrate is exported via the port at Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria. The zinc is especially prized because of its low iron content.[8] The concentrate is mixed with water and transported to the port by a 304 kilometre pipeline.[9]

The mine is serviced by the Century Mine Airport.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Infrastructure". Minmetals Resources. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Century". MMG Limited. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Mine fined over wastewater discharge". Trading Room. Fairfax Digital. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Mining completed at MMG Century mine". MMG Limited. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Century". MMG Limited. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Century". MMG Limited. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Australia's largest open-cut zinc mine ships final load from Karumba amid questions on legacy of landmark native title agreement". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Century". Minmetals Resources. Archived from the original on 8 August 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Century mine pipe replacement to take 2-3 weeks". Business Spectator. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2012.

Coordinates: 18°43′32″S 138°36′27″E / 18.72556°S 138.60750°E / -18.72556; 138.60750