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Anglo American is using a helicopter airborne survey over an area of around 10,000 square kilometres in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, exploring its mineral resource potential.

The Southwest Yilgarn Exploration Project is in its early stages of exploration work and includes low impact data collection activities over a 12–18 month period.

The region will be scoured for base and precious metals, including battery metals such as copper and nickel.

The flight path of the airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys, carried out in daytime, ranges from the Shire of Cunderdin in the north to Dumbleyung in the south, requiring only a single pass by the helicopter along spaced flight lines 400 metres apart.

The miner has assured residents that the surveys are a non-invasive technology and are not harmful to humans or livestock, and strict COVID protocols are in place . The survey crew will minimise potential impacts to livestock by increasing flying height where concentrations are sighted, for example around yards and sheds.

The helicopters are fitted with electromagnetic instruments to map variations in the electrical conductivity of the ground to a depth of several hundred metres without any disturbance to the ground. A transmitter and receiver loop are towed by the helicopter at a height of 35 metres above the surface.

The first 12-18 months of work involves baseline data acquisition for the purpose of geological validation and prospect definition.

If the aerial survey identifies an area that requires further assessment the project team would be in touch with the relevant landholders to discuss a land access and compensation agreement to undertake further activities, which could include low impact drilling for core samples.