Australia-based Xstrata Copper has initiated open pit mining activities at the Mount Margaret Mining project in north-west Queensland.

The $122m project is expected to produce ore by the end of August, which will later be be trucked to the Ernest Henry Mining operation near Cloncurry for processing.

Ernest Henry Mining general manager Myles Johnston said that Mount Margaret will add around 30,000 tonnes of annual copper production to Ernest Henry over a five-year period.

"In total, the project will add an additional 20 million tonnes of ore to our existing ore production profile throughout its five-year life, producing around 140,000 tonnes of copper, 83,000 ounces of gold and 560,000 tonnes of magnetite in concentrate over that time," Johnston added.

"We also plan further exploration at Mount Margaret to identify any additional ore resources for future development."