Newcrest has been granted approval to dig the Cadia East underground gold and copper deposit.
The mine, located outside of Orange in the NSW Central West, will be the largest underground mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world, Newcrest has said.
The deposit has a resource of 33.2 million ounces of gold and 6.59 million tonnes of copper, with production to begin in the first half of 2012.
Total production per year is predicted to be between 700 000 to 800 000 ounces of gold over the first decade, including between 75 000 and 100 000 tonnes of copper.
The miner stated that development of Cadia East underground mine, which is adjacent to its current open cut gold operations, will underpin the growth of its Cadia Valley production for the next 30 years.
Development of the underground project is predicted to cost $1.91 billion, and will be predominately funded from internal cash flows.
It will also expand its processing plant capacity from 24 million tonnes per annum to 26 million tonnes per annum.
On the back of this development, Newcrest has continued its $9.2 billion takeover approach for fellow gold miner Lihir gold.
Lihir has to date rejected Newcrest’s proposal, saying that the offer seriously undervalued the company.