Miner Xstrata, the world’s biggest integrated zinc producer, will spend A$274m ($246m) to boost output at its George Fisher mine in Australia by nearly 30 percent by 2013.

Xstrata said in a statement it had got approvals from the state government of Queensland to proceed with the expansion of the mine at the group’s Mt. Isa operations.

“George Fisher Mine contains one of the largest zinc reserves in the world and the expansion project enables us to further tap its significant resource potential,” said Brian Hearne, chief operating officer of Xstrata’s Australian zinc division.

The expansion will increase the annual production rate to 4.5 million tonnes from 3.5 million tonnes.

“While the increased production rate will reduce the life of mine by five years to 21 years, the orebody remains open at depth to the north of the mine,” Hearne added.

Xstrata has increased reserves at the operation by 126 percent to 76 million tonnes from 33 million tonnes when it acquired it in 2003.

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