Xstrata Zinc plans to increase capacity at McArthur River Mine (MRM) in the Northern Territory, Australia, and upgrade its smelters in Europe and Canada using A$900m (US$890m).

The development plan includes increasing production at MRM, installation of hydrometallurgy technology in its San Juan de Nieva smelter in Spain and Nordenham smelter in Germany, and further improvements at the Brunswick Lead Smelter in Canada.

About A$270m (US$267m) will be used in increasing MRM mine production to about five million tons a year resulting in an increase in bulk zinc / lead concentrate volume to 800,000t per annum.

The firm has submitted an environmental assessment of the proposed MRM development to the Northern Territory Government.

The assessment and an economic feasibility study will investigate the environmental, infrastructure and operational requirements for the proposed development.