Rio Tinto will restart the expansion project at its Northparkes copper and gold mine in New South Wales, Australia, Bloomberg reported.

The cost of expansion, which includes a new underground mine, is estimated at A$78m, Northparkes mine general manager Craig Stegman said.

Rio suspended work in January because of the global financial downturn and a fall in copper prices, the news service said.

Rio Tinto has spent A$202m on the expansion work and full production from the underground mine is expected to begin in a year.