MRM and the NT government sign a $1 million partnership agreement to promote education and training in the Gulf region. The Strong Start Bright Future program offers accredited training at Borroloola School, computers and attendance bonuses. The agreement also provides for local training of local students for future MRM positions. Feasibility studies are being commissioned to explore options such as the development of an open pit mine, an on-site zinc refinery, a power plant and a dam along a local river. Xstrata announces plans to study the development of Phase 3 of MRM. The project includes the expansion of mining and production facilities, doubling annual production and guaranteeing the future of the mine until 2036. During the year, in-depth studies will be conducted to prepare for the presentation of an environmental impact statement. The project is being re-evaluated on the basis of the production of a single high-quality zinc/lead/silver concentrate suitable for the Imperial Smelting Process lime intake. The extraction is done by an underground operation where only the bodies of high quality ore are removed.
Plans to expand the mine were announced in 2005. The main body being located just below the river, the extension required the 5.5 km bypass of the McArthur River.  The expansion of the mine was quickly approved with the support of Prime Minister John Howard.  The authorization was subsequently revoked by actions taken by the Northern Land Council with the support of traditional owners and the Environmental Defenders Office by the Northern Territory Supreme Court. This decision was also overturned within a few days and the mine gave the green light again by the vote of Parliament. The traditional owners continued to protest and took the case to the Federal Court of Australia. They won the case just to have that decision overturned.  The final decision was left to then federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett. Xstrata had threatened to lay off the 170 employees if Garrett did not make a quick decision.
 On January 22, 2009, „subject to an additional 10 days of assessment by indigenous and other groups,“ he also promised to protect local species such as sawfish and migratory birds.  Later in 2009, a report revealed that the environmental impact of the mine had not been controlled.  In 2012, mining giant Glencore purchased the remaining 66% of Xstrata and took over the McArthur River mine.  In 2013, the Northern Territory government approved a new $360 million extension that would double its size and production and extend the mine`s life to 2038.  According to an environmental impact study, production is expected to increase to 5.5 million tonnes per year and 735 tonnes by 2020. It will extend the mine`s life to 2038 and is expected to contribute $8.4 billion to the Northern Territory economy and $9.3 billion nationally.  „The Northern Territory government prefers to resolve these issues by appointment rather than, where possible, through litigation.“ MIM Holdings creates a joint venture with the Japanese consortium ANT Minerals, consisting of Nippon, Mitsui and Marubeni, to develop the resource. A full feasibility study has been completed and the decision to proceed with the McArthur River project has been completed.
McArthur River Mining Pty Ltd. was created to operate the mine on behalf of the joint venture partners. The body of the HYC consists of an extremely fine dispersion of the precious mineral grains, which are sullied with the gangue. The technology for efficient production of a marketable concentrate from this type of ore was only available long after the deposit was identified.