Evolution Mining’s Cowal Gold Operations (CGO) has secured approval from the regulatory authorities of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia to develop a $275.6m (A$380m) underground gold mining project.

The approval from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) will extend the permitted mine life of the operation to 2040.

Evolution Mining believes that the underground mine will be an important contributor to its goal of producing more than 350,000oz of gold annually from Cowal due to the addition of a new higher-grade underground ore source with the ore drawn from the E42 open pit.

The project is located at Lake Cowal, approximately 38km north-east of West Wyalong.

The CGO is an open cut mine that has been operational since 2005, with current approvals to continue processing at a rate of 9.8 million tonnes of ore per annum (Mtpa) until 2032.

Evolution Mining executive chairman Jake Klein said: “The approval of this new underground mine at Cowal is a significant milestone for this world-class operation. We have a bright future at Cowal with permitted mine life extended to 2040, and further job security for our local employees and contractors.”

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The Cowal underground mining project is expected to create approximately 160 jobs during the construction phase and approximately 230 jobs when the mine is in full operation.

The underground mining development is planned to start this year, with operations scheduled to commence in 2023.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, Sandvik has completed the acquisition of Tricon Drilling Solutions, an Australian supplier of rock tools for the mining industry.

In June, Sandvik signed an agreement to acquire Tricon. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Employing 23 people, Tricon will become a part of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions and operate as an independent, standalone business unit within the Rock Tools Division.