Altona Mining will commence decline tunnelling on its Outokumpu copper project in Eastern Finland this week, one month ahead of schedule.
The initial development contract for the project's first 700m of decline advance has been awarded to Helsinki-based European civil engineering contractor YIT, which will begin the work after the completion of the portal excavation and infrastructure installation.
Preparatory work is well underway to build lay down areas and the decline portal, mine dewatering infrastructure and the mine services.
YIT is set to complete the work by April 2011, while the first level development at the mine is expected to commence at 200m below the surface in October 2011.
Altona managing director Alistair Cowden said: "The commencement of the decline is another step in the transformation of the company to becoming a copper producer."