NEWCREST Mining has approved development of the Ridgeway Deeps copper and gold deposit.
The project is based on the construction of a large clock cave mine beneath the existing Ridgeway sub-level cave.
The development will transition the existing mining operations in the Ridgeway sub-level cave to the lower cost block mining method, enabling resources previously identified at a depth to be efficiently exploited.
The capital cost of the project is $545 million and will comprise deeper underground mine development, extension of the existing underground ore handling system, modifications to the processing plant and development of bulk underground mining technologies including application of automated remote loaders.
The Ridgeway Deeps mine is expected to produce over 2.8M gold equivalent ounces (1.6m ounces of gold and 210,000 tonnes of copper) over the total project life of 12 years.
The development is expected to reach full production in the financial year 2010.