Century mine is Australia’s largest open-cut zinc mine and 2015 sees its final year of production.

Located at Lawn Hill, 250km north-west of Mount Isa in the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, the mine began open-pit production in 1999.

During its 16 years of operation, Century has produced and processed zinc and lead concentrates at Lawn Hill. The product has been transferred in slurry form via a 304km underground pipeline to Century’s Port facility at Karumba for shipping to smelters in Australia, Europe and Asia.

The final ore was extracted from the Century open pit in August 2015.

century mine

Trucking program

Between May and November 2015, MMG is trucking ore from its Dugald River Project Development near Cloncurry to its processing operation at Century Mine (Lawn Hill). Find out more about the trucking program along with tips on sharing the road safely with heavy vehicles when travelling in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Future options for Century

MMG continues to study the viability of possible growth options that could have the potential to utilise Century’s extensive infrastructure at Lawn Hill and Karumba. These studies include investigations into alternative feed sources for the Century processing plant and further near-mine exploration as well as the potential retreatment of material from the tailings dam.

Century’s infrastructure at Lawn Hill and Karumba, including the pipeline, will be maintained in a state of operational readiness to allow MMG to initiate these growth options should they become feasible.

Our workforce

A series of workforce transitions which started in August 2014 will see the workforce reduce in line with operational needs. As of May 2015, Century’s workforce numbered 750 people, approximately 20% of whom are Indigenous people who have connections to the Lower Gulf. By the end of 2015, Century’s workforce is expected to be less than 160 people.

Along with other community benefits, Century invests in a training program that sees all trainees and apprentices paid by MMG Century but working with host employers in a wide variety of non-mining jobs in their home communities or in locations where they are happy to work. Century’s ground-breaking training program is, as far as we know, unique in Australian mining. The main benefits of Century’s host-employer program for trainees and apprentices is that it gives them broader career choices, keeps talent in local communities, and reduces dependence on the mine as a source of jobs.


Even though Century will end all production and shipping by the end of 2015, there will still be activity at our Lawn Hill and Karumba sites.

The Lawn Hill lease covers 23,000ha. Of this area, approximately 11% has been disturbed by mining activities. The remaining 89% of the lease has been undisturbed by mining.

Century is currently in a transition period as it prepares for the end of open-cut zinc production in the third quarter of 2015. An important part of mine closure is rehabilitation planning and this is well underway at Century. MMG is investing in rehabilitation that will see both the Lawn Hill and Karumba sites return to their pre-mining states. In the case of the Lawn Hill lease, this means the lease will be suitable for light cattle grazing.

After an initial three-year period of ‘active closure’ where the focus will be on bulk earthworks, the Lawn Hill site will enter a ‘passive closure’ phase lasting for approximately 30 years. During this period, Caring for Country activities will become the focus. Where possible, these activities will be carried out using the skills of local Indigenous people.

Transition postcards







Environment rehabilitation

Key milestones

1869 Base metals discovered in Lawn Hill area
1887 Silver King deposit discovered
1987 Exploration rights granted to CRA (now Rio Tinto)
1990 Century deposit discovered
1997 Pasminco buys Century lease from CRA
1997 Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA) signed between Century Mine, the Queensland Government and the Waayni, Kukatj, Mingginda and Gkuthaarn Native Title Groups
1999 First shipment of zinc concentrates
2004 Zinifex listed and buys Century from Pasminco
2005 RE Joint Venture ends
2008 Zinifex & Oxiana merge to form OZ Minerals as owner-operator
2009 MMG buys Century from Oz Minerals
2015 End of open pit production


Century mine (Lawn Hill)


The Century mine and port operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

Century mine is a closed site but tours operate on weekends during the cooler months. For information about tours contact Adels Grove.

Karumba Port

Yappar Street
Karumba QLD 4891


Community: For general business or community enquiries, please call 1800 098 721 or email centurycsp@mmg.com.

Jobs: For information about new or existing job vacancies with MMG, visit Careers.

Suppliers: For Suppliers’ information, visit About Us.

Media: For media enquiries (including requests to use images or audio from Transition Postcards) call 07 4769 5980 or email martin.powley@mmg.com.

Century mine (Lawn Hill)

PO Box 8016
Garbutt Business Centre
Garbutt QLD 4814

T +61 7 4769 5031
F +61 7 4769 5631

Community & Stakeholder Partnerships

Freecall 1800 098 721
T +61 7 4769 5432

Karumba Port

PO Box 230
Karumba QLD 4891

T +61 7 4747 6300
F +61 7 4747 6307

MMG Port Administration
T +61 7 4747 6300

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Related Information

Century is Australia’s largest open pit zinc mine located in Queensland’s North West. Century comprises two sites – the mine and processing operation at Lawn Hill, and associated concentrate dewatering and ship-loading facilities at the Karumba Port, on the Gulf of Carpentaria.