Developer Wilson Bowden plans to develop the mall as part of regeneration of the former Ravenscraig Steelworks. The plans also include more than 3,500 new homes and two million sq ft (185,810 sq m)of industrial and business space.
The Scottish Executive has approved an amendment to the structure plan, which gives town centre status to part of the Ravenscraig site.
Meanwhile, it has decided not to call in the planning application. This means that the next phase of work can begin.
Wilson Bowden director Jim Fitzsimons said: 'It is now more than 12 years since Ravenscraig Steelworks closed, and the Ravenscraig Partnership will be looking to implement this permission as soon as possible. We would hope to submit a detailed planning application by the end of 2004, with a view to completing the new town centre by 2008.'
US-based Mills Corporation, which completed Europe's largest shopping mall Xanadu in Madrid this year, has been linked with the retail element of the project.
When the former Ravenscraig Steelworks closed it created one of the largest brownfield sites in Europe.
It measures more than 1,125 acres (455 ha), and is being redeveloped by the Ravenscraig Partnership - a public/private joint venture made up of Wilson Bowden Developments, Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire and Corus.