Xstrata will begin its $47 million study into a proposal to further develop its Mount Isa operations.
The miner was to develop a large multi-commodity open pit at the existing Mt Isa Mines site, according to the ABC.
The miner already produces zinc, lead and copper concentrates from the site.
If the open pit is developed, it could potentially extend the life of the operations beyond 2060.
The study will begin this month, and will be finalised by 2013.