The forecast capital cost for the 295 Australian projects that are in the project development phase (Evaluation) is approximately A$245 billion. With average prices for projects increasing, the project development phases have never been more critical (Australian Government, Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics 2012). Project development in the Australian mining community is generally undertaken in four separate stage-gated study phases Resource Planning, Concept, Pre-feasibility and Feasibility. Each phase further defines the level of maturity required for investment, risk and project portfolio evaluation purposes. However, even with this mature project development approach, the vast majority of mining mega projects has experienced cost and schedule overruns. Current industry practices are outlined, which suggests a vertically integrated framework for the four study phases through project development. This approach is focused on increasing the links between project development and program and project portfolio management and presents a new vertically integrated model in an optimised project development life cycle, adapted from current standard linear.