Rex Minerals has been given the green light by the South Australian government to develop what it says is Australia’s largest unexploited copper project.
Rex told the market on Tuesday that it had received a formal offer of mineral tenements for its $US850 million ($A919.66 million) Hillside copper project on the Yorke Peninsula, about an hour northwest of Adelaide.
The company says it will consider the terms of the offer before accepting it.
Rex previously received Commonwealth environmental approval and is in the process of finalising a bankable feasibility study for the project.
Managing director Mark Parry said in a statement that the company would continue to engage with members of the community as it moves towards construction.
SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the mining lease included a number of conditions and struck the right balance between environmental and economic priorities.
“A new copper, gold and iron ore mine is good news for South Australia and has the potential to create hundreds of jobs for the region over the 15-year life of the mine,” he said in a statement.
“The lease approval is a major step towards delivering this project, and demonstrates that the Hillside mine can be operated in an environmentally responsible manner.”
But Greens MLC Mark Parnell said the approval was a “major blow for local farmers” who were concerned about water contamination, wind-blown dust and radiation.