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World-first survey sends Estrella share price flying

Updated: Apr 19

Testing of the TargetEM loop survey to be used by Estrella Resources. Credit: File

Estrella Resources’ share price doubled this morning on the back of the company revealing an impending world-first helicopter-borne electromagnetic survey (TargetEM) at its Carr Boyd nickel-copper-PGE project in Western Australia.

The news sparked a trading frenzy in Estrella’s stock, which launched from yesterday’s close of 0.007 cents to a morning high of 0.014c.

Given the significant technology and sensitivity upgrades of its new system, management is now intensifying its hunt for drill targets that previously evaded detection while using the older technology.

The company’s next-generation geophysics program follows a 2023 exploration review that collated all previous geophysics survey results, both on-ground and via aircraft, since the 1980s. The review confirmed that anomalies in the data at Carr Boyd exist, however management believes each previously-applied technique had limitations and nothing definitive was ever identified or adequately tested.

Estrella has now signed an agreement with Canadian-based geophysical firm Expert Geophysics to start its TargetEM survey next month, in what the company says will be the world’s first full commercial deployment of the system. The survey will cover the company’s entire tenement package at Carr Boyd, spanning some 253 square-kilometres, with hopes it can locate drill targets that were previously missed while using the older technology.

It will target all prospective horizons identified in the exploration review, including the nearby high-priority Colreavy komatiite target where no modern geophysics has been undertaken.

TargetEM offers significant technology and sensitivity upgrades from previous helicopter-borne EM systems. It contains many structural, electrical and software improvements, greatly enhancing both the sensitivity and depth of investigation.

We have always looked to improve our discovery advantage utilising ultra-modern exploration techniques and technology. We were the first to successfully use the revolutionary e-vibe seismic system in W.A. and our team is now employing a world-first in geophysical surveying methods. This is next-gen geophysical system technology that even the majors have not yet utilised. Estrella Resources managing director Chris Daws

In addition to the TargetEM data, Estrella will acquire very-low frequency, magnetics and audio-frequency-magnetic (AFMAG) time-domain data. The high-frequency AFMAG data, acquired on a time-domain system, has never been released commercially, but is expected to vastly improve depth and quality of investigation in potentially detecting drill targets.

Management outlined four advantages of the AFMAG data.

Firstly, its says the AFMAG complementary data will allow the system to measure across a broader range of resistivities than any other time-domain system on the market, revealing a more significant distinction of geology and structure at depth. The system can also resolve highly-resistive targets.

With the seismic data already collected, the AFMAG complementary data will enable true three-dimensional geological interpretation to constrain internal exploration windows and model prospective horizons before drilling.

Secondly, the system can detect “superconducting-type massive sulphides” – which is problematic for other time-domain systems — along with significant alteration zones followed by disseminated sulphides.

Thirdly, the system can recognise superparamagnetic anomalies and compensate for induced polarisation (IP) effects that create pseudo anomalies and mask the useful inductive EM response, which is another issue for other airborne time-domain systems.

Lastly, the AFMAG data measured at the lowest possible frequencies will allow the system to see deeper than any airborne time-domain system, which will be especially useful at Carr Boyd where the basal contacts dip steeply.

Management says the program will be funded by a $1.04 million advance research and development tax offset, which was received last month from Radium Capital and related directly to exploration activities at Carr Boyd.

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