Newcrest Mining has secured the approval to increase the permitted processing capacity of the Cadia gold mine in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE) approved the expansion that will enable the company to increase the mine’s processing capacity from 32 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 35Mtpa.

The decision comes a year after the Newcrest board approved a two-stage expansion of Cadia.

Execution of the works for both stages is currently underway with completion slated in the September quarter of 2022.

The approval will also enable Newcrest to repair the slumped section of the Northern Tailings Storage Facility (NTSF) at Cadia. The company will also work to change NTSF and Southern Tailings Storage Facility from an upstream to a centreline lift design.

However, the DPIE approval comes with conditions that include addressing potential dust and air quality issues at the site.

In a statement, the company said: “The modification is subject to conditions including Newcrest commissioning an independent audit report to the satisfaction of the DPIE Secretary in relation to Newcrest’s approach to managing and minimising the off-site air quality impacts of the project.”

Newcrest added that the detailed work on a single design option of NTSF is underway. It is expected to cost less than $71.3m (A$100m).

Located 25km from Orange, Cadia is one of the largest gold mining operations in Australia. Newcrest mines gold doré from a gravity circuit and gold-rich copper concentrates from a flotation circuit at the project.

Separately, Newcrest signed definitive agreements with Altus Strategies and Alphastream to sell a portfolio of 24 royalties for nearly $37.5m.

These royalties are related to Bonikro (Push Back 5), South Kalgoorlie Operations and Ballarat operating gold mines and 21 other projects across Australia.

Last month, Newcrest Mining agreed to acquire the remaining stake in Canadian firm Pretium Resources for $2.8bn.