First Quantum Minerals will develop the $400m Kevitsa nickel-copper-PGE project in north Finland following approval by the board.

The project has a mineral reserves estimate of 107.5 million tonnes grading 0.296% nickel, 0.272% nickel sulphide, 0.418% copper, using a 0.147% nickel sulphide cut-off grade.

The process units will have built in expansion capabilities and will allow for annual capacity of five million tonnes.

Drilling work at the project continues to demonstrate positive results with further extensions to the mineral resource expected to be found.

All necessary mining permits for the project have been obtained.

The project will be financed through a combination of equity and loan, including Nordic institutions.

Nearly 200 people will be required during commercial operations at the mine, which will have an estimated life of more than 20 years.

By the end of this year, detailed engineering work will commence with commercial output expected to begin in mid-2012.

First Quantum acquired the Kevitsa project 18 months ago.