ASX- and Aim-listed Aura Energy has announced that a diamond drill rig has been mobilised from Mauritanian capital city Nouakchott to its 85%-owned Tiris uranium project to begin the 10 000 m infill drilling programme, with results expected in the fourth quarter.
The diamond drilling will generate large diameter (PQ) core in about 60 holes to validate the downhole radiometric logging results that the resource estimate will be based on, and will provide density data throughout the deposit.
Aura nonexecutive chairperson Phil Mitchell said Tiris presented a significant opportunity not only for near-term uranium production with the fast-tracked 800 000 lb/y project, but more importantly for future growth, as Aura aimed to rapidly increase yearly production in the future.
He said the company aspired to expand the resource so that it supported the expansion of Tiris to ultimately three-million to five-million pounds of triuranium octoxide a year within five years of initial production.
On January 20, Aura said its 2022 resource upgrade programme would include further drilling, seeking to upgrade more of its 56-million-pound resource from inferred to measured and indicated (M&I), and to identify further exploration targets within the tenure.
The programme is designed to expand what is already one of the lowest capital expenditure and lowest operating cost uranium projects in the world, Aura said.
The resource upgrade programme will focus on the Sadi, Lazare South and Hippolye zones within the Tiris East project, with the aim of increasing M&I resources, as Aura transitions from a uranium explorer to producer at Tiris.
“By upgrading the resource estimate, in parallel with planned development and construction, we will add the opportunity to expand the production targets early in the mine life, following the commencement of production at Tiris from the fast-tracked 800 000 lb/y project,” Aura acting CEO Will Goodall said.