Ariana Resources (LON: AAU | FRA: 4A6) posted a major development on Tuesday, revealing it has officially started exploration activities in Eastern Europe, with exploration licence applications already submitted in Kosovo.

The company is to hold a 75% interest in Western Tethyan Resources (“WTR”) after committing a minimum of €100,000 of exploration funding in the remainder of 2021. An “experienced local management team” will hold the other 25% WTR interest.

Already, the firm has submitted “several exploration licence applications” and embarked on an “extensive review” of project opportunities in Eastern Europe. Right now, Ariana is focusing on discovering “major copper-gold systems” and is assessing suitable projects in the region.

Kosovo, as well as North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Servia, and Bulgaria, are all part of WTR’s focus when it comes to project generation.

At present, WTR has three Kosovo projects: Terpeza, Hertica, and Cecelia. Best trench results from Terpeza’s limited exploration work so far returned 51 metres at 1.25 grams per ton of gold while best drill intersections returned 17m at 1.32 g/t gold and 24m at 1.65 g/t gold, 2% lead plus zinc.

Multiple soil samples at Hertica, from historical programmes, returned more than 1% lead and more than 1% zinc over a 1km long structure. Additionally, “several significant gold anomalies” were previously identified at Cecelia.

Thanks to its regional partnerships, Ariana currently has what it calls “boots-on-the ground” reach covering more than 2,500 kilometres of among the world’s most prospective territory for silver, copper, and gold deposits.

Kosovo alone is among Europe’s “most metal-endowed countries”, especially at the 60 million tonne Trepca lead-zinc-silver mining complex, and yet is still “significantly under-explored for precious metals”.

The company’s managing director, Kerim Sener, noted that Ariana has already begun “an extensive remote-sensing study utilising ASTER and Sentinel-2 multispectral satellite datasets initially across Kosovo and North Macedonia”.

ASTER, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, is an imaging instrument location on NASA satellite Terra, launched all the way back in 1999. Data from ASTER are used to make detailed elevation, reflectance, and land surface temperature maps.

The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 is a mission involving two twin satellites that monitors variability in land surface conditions.

Sener said the firm’s work uses “various image processing algorithms to target key alteration minerals associated with mineral deposits”. On top of which, Ariana is acquiring and reprocessing geophysical datasets. These are combined with remote-sensing studies to “improve exploration targeting”.

Furthermore, the managing director pointed out that Ariana is already familiar with the WTR team, “having worked with them all previously in Turkey” and elsewhere.

“We look forward to updating the market on our progress regarding the licence applications in Kosovo and the other Eastern European project opportunities that we are currently reviewing in due course,” Sener concluded.

Author: Anna Farley

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