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ERG commences drilling at an additional site in the Aktobe Region

Published by , Deputy Editor
Global Mining Review,

ERG Exploration, established in January 2021 as part of Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), a leading diversified natural resources group, in order to replenish and expand the company’s mineral resource base, has commenced drilling operations at the 130 km2 Bilge exploration site in the Aktobe Region. The company is using its own resources to test geophysical and geochemical anomalies and geological formations to detect various mineral occurrences, including copper, chrome and manganese mineralisation. At the prospecting stage, drilling will total 6600 linear m.

ERG Exploration JSC performs a full range of exploration works, from design, field and geophysical surveys and well drilling to 3D modelling of deposits and preparation of reserves and resources reports meeting international standards such as KAZRC and JORC. The company has a team of highly qualified specialists, who have already started to develop exploration plans, make preparations for field surveys and perform other required surveys of the Group’s exploration assets.

“Market analysis has revealed that existing geological exploration enterprises are organisationally disconnected; they have limited capabilities and a narrow focus,” commented Serik Shakhazhanov, Chairman of the Management Board of Eurasian Group LLP, which manages ERG’s assets in Kazakhstan. “To accomplish the tasks that ERG is currently faced with, we require a company with extensive capabilities that can offer a full range of services, including reclassification of reserves in accordance with international standards. Accordingly, we have decided to set up our own exploration company and spin off geological exploration as a separate business within the Group.”

The company sorts the waste it generates by type; in the course of drilling, it uses certified environmentally friendly drilling mud additives. All operations are based on environmental impact assessments (EIAs) agreed and approved by competent authorities. ERG Exploration JSC consistently implements international standards, including environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles.

Contracts for subsequent waste transfer and processing have been concluded with third-party organisations. The drilling site has been fenced off with special netting to protect it against potential hazards, prevent unauthorised access and make sure that no wild or domestic animals enter the premises. All personnel have undergone training and have obtained all the authorisations and certifications required for exploration work.

The company has set up production facilities in Rudny and Khromtau. To build up its drilling capabilities, the company has purchased high-performance drilling rigs from well-established international manufacturers. It is expected that a total of at least 40 000 linear m will be drilled per year. Investment in drilling equipment to date has totalled circa US$5 million.

“Our main objectives are to study mineral reserves, with a focus on bauxite, chrome, manganese and other metals prioritised by ERG,” explained Azamat Shalabayev, Director General of ERG Exploration JSC. “In addition, we will work to improve exploration techniques, provide scientific support for exploration processes and centralise the management of all existing and prospective exploration assets.”

Within ultrabasic rocks and exocontact zones at the Bilge property, geochemical dispersion halos have been identified for chrome, nickel, cobalt, copper and lead. For instance, the Bilge ore occurrence has copper content of up to 3%.

To accomplish all of its objectives, ERG Exploration intends to leverage innovative technologies, such as remote sensing, artificial intelligence and other tools, and to adopt state-of-the-art geophysical and geochemical exploration techniques and drilling methods to prospect for new promising exploration targets.

ERG Exploration plans to boost drilling to 100 000 linear m/yr. Accordingly, the company’s strategy involves increasing the number of drilling rigs to 10.

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