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Aeris Resources to adopt innovative helicopter method in upcoming Torrens drilling

The company aims to minimise disturbance on an environmentally sensitive salt lake landform.
Preparations on Lake Torrens
Stage I drilling will comprise 8-10 holes at the Torrens project

Aeris Resources Ltd (ASX:AIS) will use an innovative helicopter-supported drilling method for an upcoming diamond drill program at the Torrens Joint Venture Project in South Australia.

This method has been designed to minimise disturbance on the environmentally sensitive Lake Torrens salt lake landform.

The joint venture partners Aeris (70%) and Argonaut Resources NL (ASX:ARE) have awarded two key contracts for the drilling and helicopter services in preparation for the drilling program.

READ: Aeris Resources ready to drill massive Olympic Dam style target

Mobilisation of equipment is expected to start in mid-December with work having been completed on an access road to the edge of Lake Torrens.

The stage I drilling program consisting of 8-10 drill holes targeting depths of 700-1,500 metres and focusing on the highest priority targets is planned to begin in mid-January.

READ: Aeris Resources completes retail entitlement offer to raise a total of $35.1 million

Aeris Resources executive chairman Andre Labuschagne said the appointment of drilling and helicopter contractors marked the start of an incredibly exciting period for the Torrens Joint Venture.

 “Drilling on a salt lake using helicopter support to minimise our footprint presents a number of technical and logistics challenges as well as opportunities.”

Specialised heli-portable rig

The drilling program will be helicopter supported utilising a specialised heli-portable diamond drill rig.

Ten 6-metre by 2.8-metre raised work platforms will be transported by helicopter onto the lake and bolted together to act as a stable platform on the lake surface.

The drill rig will be flown onto the platform in 16 sections and then re-assembled.

Personnel, equipment, drill consumables and other materials will be also transported via helicopter from the exploration camp to the work platform.

Labuschagne said: “Developing an environmentally-sensitive solution has taken a little longer than we originally anticipated, however it is important to get these details right up-front so that once the equipment and personnel are on site we can focus on drilling.

READ: Aeris Resources reduces debt by US$20 million

Located within the Stuart Shelf region of South Australia, the project is 50 kilometres from Oz Minerals’ Carrapateena deposit and 75 kilometres from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine.

The Torrens Anomaly is a large regionally significant coincident magnetic and gravity anomaly with a footprint in excess 120 square kilometres, which is greater than Olympic Dam.

Encouraged by BHP results

Aeris and Argonaut are encouraged by a recent discovery by BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) of a discrete gravity anomaly around 45 kilometres southwest from Torrens.

Labuschagne added: “BHP’s recent ASX announcement of exploration results from its nearby EL 5941 is very exciting and reaffirms the view of the JV partners that the Torrens project is located in a highly prospective IOCG province.”

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