Cadia Holdings subsidiary Newcrest Mining has received planning approval for its proposed Cadia East project, which is expected to become Australia’s largest underground mining operation.

The capital cost of the project, near Orange in New South Wales, is estimated to be about A$2bn.

Newcrest Cadia Valley Operations general manager Tony McPaul said planning approval was a critical step in the advancement of the project, which will be considered by the company board in the first quarter of the year after remaining regulatory approvals are finalised.

“If approved by the board the Cadia East project will be the largest underground mine in Australia and will secure our future in the region for at least the next 20 years, and will be Newcrest’s first panel cave, building on our expertise in underground mining,” McPaul said.

“It will mean significant ongoing direct and indirect employment and economic activity for the region.

“At the peak of construction approximately 1,300 employees will be required.”

Newcrest is one of Australia’s biggest gold mining companies with operating mines in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.