Sirius Resources have commenced project development for the Nova nickel mine as of Australia Day.
Mining started on Monday, two and a half years from the announcement of the discovery, with the initial boxcut expected to take three months to complete.
The mining operations will be conducted by contractor Barminco under a three year contract valued at $129 million.
A number of key construction activities will also commence, including expansion of the exploration camp to a 200 person temporary construction camp which will house workers while the main accommodation village is built.
The permanent village will be completed by August 2015 at a cost of $23 million.
Construction and works on the aerodrome and access roads will begin this week.
The contractor which successfully tendered for engineering, procurement and construction of the processing plant will be announced in March.
Sirius managing director Mark Bennett said it was “fitting that such a significant milestone should fall on Australia Day for this world-class project”.
Bennett was commended last year for his sensitive approach to negotiating the native title agreement with the Ngadju people, traditional landowners of the Fraser Ranges.
Additional wildlife surveys were conducted voluntarily in conjunction with representatives of the Ngadju people to ensure potential impacts on fauna were negligible.
“It is also pleasing to continue involving local stakeholders such as the traditional owners and local pastoralists in the venture,” Bennett said.
“Our project management team have doen a great job getting Sirius to this point so smoothly, so quickly and with the benefit of significant savings.
“On behalf of all our shareholders and stakeholders I look forward to the project taking shape in a timely, responsible and above all a safe manner.”
Sirius identified a capital cost saving of $30 million on the original feasibility study estimate of $473 million, bringing the estimated cost down to $443 million, which includes a contingency cost of $22 million.