As it sniffs out both lithium and uranium at its self-named project in Oregon USA, Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) has today kicked the ball along with a second drill rig mobilised on-site, this time, a diamond drill.
The diamond rig (which produces long continuous core samples, opposed to RC drilling) will ultimately be tasked with perforating carefully selected targets at the project from which to extract material ideal for metallurgical testwork.
Phase 1 drilling at the project kicked off mid-late last month and, at that time, there was no plan for a diamond drill rig to come on-site. That was to do with a lack of availability, but, since October, Aurora has been able to get its hands on one.
The layout of exploration regarding Aurora’s lithium-uranium resource can be summarised as thus: lithium brines on top, uranium in hard-rock underneath; two birds with one drill.
The company is very mindful of the fact the Biden Administration is currently prioritising the establishment of a secure domestic uranium supply chain in the US.
“We’ve been fortunate to secure this diamond rig at short notice that will help us accelerate our drill program and also generate core for further uranium metallurgical testwork,” Aurora chief Greg Cochran said.
“Depending on the quality of the lithium intersections, it may also enable us to do some initial sighter tests on the lithium, intersections, in particular to gain an early understanding of the nature of the clays that are known to host the lithium mineralisation, akin to the other two major lithium projects in our region.”
Aurora holds all US Federal approvals from the Bureau of Lands Management (BLM) it needs to move ahead with further drilling H1 of the 2023 calendar year.
The company now continues to work with Oregon’s state-level regulator, called the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), to receive state-level approvals.
Aurora must have its activities greenlit by both BLM, and DOGAMI, before the company is completely in the clear to get on with it.
Company chief Cochran last month expressed confidence that compliance process would satisfy requirements.
For those playing at home, Cochran is the former chief of ASX-listed uranium player Deep Yellow (ASX:DYL).
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