Rio Tinto-owned Energy Resources of Australia plans to spend $57 million on a prefeasibility study for an underground development at its Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory.
The study will be funded from a $500 million capital raising ERA completed last year.
ERA said the report would evaluate and confirm the viability of developing an underground mine at Ranger.
The company said it commenced construction on the Ranger 3 Deeps exploration decline project last month.
“This is another positive and significant step towards determining the viability of an underground mine on the Ranger project area,” chief executive Rob Atkinson said.
“We will continue discussions with the Mirarr through their representatives, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, as well as the Commonwealth government and Northern Territory government in relation to this project and the outcomes in the study.”
A decision on whether to proceed with the development will be made in 2014, ERA said.