Rio Tinto has commenced the first geophysical airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey at the Citadel project in Western Australia in its farm-in with Antipa Minerals.
The survey was an additional regional geophysical work that was proposed and fully funded by Rio Tinto outside its original exploration budget this year.
Rio Tinto was originally required to spend $8 million on exploration within three years.
The survey area spans over 600 square kilometres of all remaining regions in Citadel that AEM geophysical systems have not previously covered.
Rio Tinto has sought to identify gold and copper mineralisation at Citadel through the use of EM conductors.
The AEM survey uses airborne geophysical survey company SkyTEM’s helicopter-borne EM system.
AEM has been instrumental in uncovering several significant discoveries in the Paterson Province in northern Western Australia where the Citadel project is located. Antipa Minerals used a similar technology when it identified a gold-copper-silver deposit in 2011.
Rio Tinto intends to follow up and test any targets that the AEM survey generates in 2019.
The company has the right to earn up to 75 per interest in Citadel when it has spent $60 million in project exploration over several years.