Mount Isa Shire was formed in 1963 by the amalgamation of Mount Isa with Barkly Tableland Shire and part of Cloncurry Shire. The municipality was raised to city status in 1968. Mount Isa township accounts for most of the municipality's population, but the municipal area of 43,343 sq km contains several natural features and the distant town of Camooweal, 10 km from the Northern Territory border. Camooweal was the administrative centre of Barkly Tableland Shire.

Lawn Hill (Boodjamulla) National Park is 260 km north of Mount Isa. Consisting of numerous gorges and a surrounding plain, the chief feature is several galleries of Aboriginal art. Lawn Hill Creek is an oasis with fan palms along its banks. Camooweal Caves National Park is south of Camooweal and 150 km west of Mount Isa. The elaborate underground cave system is inhabited by colonies of bats. Riversleigh fossil field, part of an extended Lawn Hill National Park, is 200 km north-west of Mount Isa. Fossil bones were first found there in 1900, the remains of a highly varied animal population when Riversleigh was a rainforest. There are ongoing palaeontological investigations.

Copper mining was carried out at Gunpowder, 110 km north of Mount Isa. Western Metals Copper Ltd continues to operate the Mammoth and Esperanza mine sites. Gunpowder Creek runs through Lake Waggaboonyah, a stretch of water rich in flora and fauna, including freshwater crocodiles.

The Mount Isa municipality includes the eastern part of the Barkly Tableland, famed for its Mitchell Grass pasture. The municipality carried 107,000 beef cattle in 1993.

Municipal census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation
196617,684
197126,502
199124,735
200121,636
200619,663
201121,237
Further Reading: 

Mount Isa and Mount Isa Suburbs entries