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exploration & projects
Aquarius has an active exploration programme. Although exploration is done at and around most operations the major focus is on the eastern Bushveld Complex.
Greenfields exploration is currently being conducted at Zondernaam, Chieftains Plain and Walhalla with brownfields exploration being undertaken at Hoogland and Vygenhoek in the vicinity of Everest. These projects and prospects combined have the potential to contribute PGM resources of at least 36 million ounces.
summary of Aquarius’ project and prospect resources, after the application of geological losses
The Townlands Prospect is adjacent to and up-dip of the Townlands Block of Kroondal mine and will be incorporated into the mining right for the mine.
The Hoogland resource is located approximately 1.2km directly south of the Everest orebody. The UG2 Reef occurs as an outcrop or sub-outcrop around most of the perimeter of the two erosional outliers. The UG2 Reef intersected in the exploration boreholes resembles that of the Everest orebody in that it consists of an upper chromitite and a lower chromitite seam, with or without an internal waste band occurring within the chromitite.
The exploration programme for the Vygenhoek Project, situated approximately 12km to the north of the Everest mine orebody, has been completed, culminating in the entire Resource being classified as Measured.
Following the successful conclusion of the acquisition of Ridge Mining plc, Aquarius officially took over management of the Sheba’s Ridge project in FY2010. The base metal and precious metal mineralisation is located in the Groblersdal ‘bulge’ connected to the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex and is contained in a wide zone of mineralised pyroxenite and associated mafic rock types. This unit, termed the Sheba’s Reef, was interpreted to be within lithologies analogous to the Lower Zone of the Bushveld Complex. Although a feasibility study was completed in December 2007, the project is currently under review.
The Sterkfontein Resource is a continuation of the Everest orebody under the Groot Dwars River towards the western boundary of the Everest mine mining right tenements. The Resource consists of two erosional outliers and there is no indication that the stratigraphy, lithology or geological structure would be different to that encountered at the Everest mine orebody.
Exploration drilling for Chieftains Plain and Walhalla is in progress subsequent to completion of field mapping and an aeromagnetic survey. The total core length to date is 9,531m.
The Zondernaam Project is located in the north western section of the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex. Although at depths exceeding 1,500m below surface, both the Merensky and UG2 Reefs were intersected and the assay results received were encouraging. Due to the depth at which the reefs are occurring, the seismic survey will ensure optimal positioning of exploration boreholes as well as aid in mine planning and shaft positioning. Exploration drilling continued during FY2011 with a total core length to date of 13,810m being drilled from six exploration boreholes.
Further information on Aquarius’ exploration programme can be found here.