Gunpowder is a mining locality 120 km north of Mount Isa. The origin of the name is unrecorded but may refer to the site of clashes between white settlers and Indigenous inhabitants. It is part of the copper-bearing country stretching north from Mount Isa and Cloncurry.

A mining lease was worked at the Mammoth mine at Gunpowder from 1927 onwards, but the most intensive mining operations were during the 1970s-80s. A State primary school operated during two periods, 1970-82 and 1991-99. During the 1970s there were also a store, a swimming pool and a motel. The motel was converted into the Gunpowder Resort for a while.

After the closure of the Mammoth and Esperanza mines in the mid-1980s, production recommenced in 1990 using a solvent extraction plant.

Gunpowder's census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation
193325
1976524
1981217