The McArthur River zinc mine is in Australia’s remote Northern Territory. Ultimately worth billions of dollars to the local economy, it also provides a vivid illustration of the challenges presented by mining and asphalt paving in remote locations.
To give an idea of how remote we’re talking here, the nearest town is Borroloola, population 926. During the wet season, travel from Borroloola along Highway One across the coastal plain to Queensland is impossible. It’s underwater. Borroloola airport is home base for two aircraft, both single-engine Cessna. If you look at Google Earth, you see a small town and a whole lot of brown and green. There isn’t a lot happening in Borroloola. And the McArthur River Mine is another hour’s drive further into the wilderness.