Australian mining company OZ Minerals said that it would go ahead with the construction of the Carrapateena copper gold mine in South Australia at a cost of A$916m ($724m).

The announcement follows an approval by the company’s board of directors for the project, which is considered to be the largest undeveloped copper reserve in Australia.

Located 160km north of Port Augusta, the Carrapateena copper mine, which has a life-span of 20 years, was acquired by OZ Minerals in 2011.

OZ Minerals stated that the feasibility study of the mining project has confirmed economic robustness with an increase of 18% in the net present value (NPV) to nearly A$910m ($717.7m).

OZ Minerals CEO Andrew Cole said: “Our confidence in the economics, constructability and operability of the Carrapateena project as a long life low cost mine has been further reinforced through the feasibility study phase.

“Carrapateena is now firmly established as a high quality project in its own right with opportunities identified including expanding the existing cave footprint and accessing satellite deposits. It also serves as a base for potential district development of nearby Fremantle Doctor and Khamsin.”

According to OZ Minerals, there has been increase by 13% in the estimate for the ore reserve tonnage to 79Mt with copper equivalent grade of 2.31%.

The mining company plans to begin the development project through a two-phased work program which begins next month, while commissioning of the mine has been slated for the fourth quarter of 2019.

OZ Minerals has estimated the Carrapateena mine to yield an annual metal production of 65,000 tonnes of copper and 67,000 ounces of gold during its lifetime.