From inception, we have actively put new technologies to work, with the aim of producing faster results, interpreting data more intelligently, or simply to experiment with new or conceptual ideas. Ariana is also committed to a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach to exploration and mining. Using cutting-edge technologies and innovative working practices, we aim to achieve our exploration goals faster and more cost-effectively.
The technologies we use are significant contributors to our industry leading exploration costs (gold discovery cost US$11/oz) and exploration success
- Low relative cost of implementation and direct application to the discovery of mineralisation
- Highly proficient advanced and powerful software programs for fast data analysis and interpretation
- Design, processing and analysis of geophysics data is completed by our in-house geophysicists
Our in-house team of geologists, geochemists, geophysicists and our remote-sensing specialist are currently applying their expertise to develop our Leopard Project in Eastern Turkey. Following licence acquisition, detailed exploration work will be carried out by the team. This expertise and technological advantage is applied to all projects in which Ariana is involved, from JV’s to investments through the Asgard Metals Fund.
Since 2009, Ariana has gained extensive experience utilising geochemical results produced using field-portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analysis. This is our go-to exploration tool, which we have tested over a vast majority of deposit types to great effect. We now use pXRF analysis at every stage of our exploration programmes from sampling to mapping, providing fast and highly effective results, which are then subsequently further defined by laboratory assay analysis.
Our early adoption of pXRF technology has greatly reduced our carbon footprint due to the marked reduction in laboratory analyses required. For any given exploration or drilling programme, all samples are analysed locally, instead of dispatching to distant locations for analysis. Samples requiring follow-up laboratory analysis are then selected for fire-assay or ICP-MS analysis.
Our deployment of Geotek BoxScan technology since 2021 for multi-parameter automated drill core analysis ensures we can analyse drillcore and RC-chips locally and avoid excessive transportation. In addition to standard geological logging, our team are benefitting from the extensive additional data which is collected, including pXRF, magnetic susceptibility, laser scanning, light spectrometry and photo data analysis into a single data output.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Drone imagery provides valuable additional information for an exploration project as it allows greater capacity for ground coverage within a shorter time-frame than the equivalent exploration on-foot, regardless of the difficulty of the terrain. Areas of interest are easily identified for on-foot follow up.
The Company first used fixed-wing drones in 2012, taking the opportunity to experiment with new and rapid developments in photogrammetry. The Company is currently using quadcopter drones extensively for field-mapping and high-resolution three-dimensional terrain surveying applications, key to building fast and accurate geological models. The majority of our staff in Turkey have formally qualified as drone pilots capable of operating drones such as those in the DJI Mavic and Phantom series. We are looking to expand the capability of our drone operations to encompass further exploration and production applications, including the use of drones in airborne magnetic surveys.
Geology – Leapfrog Geo and Edge
All data generated through exploration, both remotely and in-field, is incorporated into Leapfrog Geo workspaces. This powerful software is used to review and interpret all data holistically in both 2D and 3D to develop geological models using both Leapfrog’s mathematical approach and the manual interpretations of our geologists. Resource estimation is carried out in Leapfrog Edge and reported in accordance with international reporting standards such as JORC. The software is also used routinely to plan further exploration, such as follow-up surface sampling and drilling programmes.
Landsat and ASTER satellite data analysis and interpretation in 2003 and 2004, was used by the Company to identify areas of hydrothermal alteration across Turkey. This lead to our first exploration licence applications in early 2004. This remote-sensing work also identified the prospectivity of the Kiziltepe and Salinbas areas, among others, representing areas which remain under exploration by the Company to the present. The Company now routinely undertakes remote-sensing data analysis and interpretation across all areas of exploration activity, in Turkey and beyond.
Geochemistry – ioGAS
Geochemical data collected from stream-sediments to soils to drillcore are analysed using ioGAS. Standard geostatistical analysis, followed by more complex data analysis is undertaken. This includes Principal Component Analysis (PCA) which aids determination of element and mineral relationships. This is used to interpret lithological differences, classify mineralised domains and define pathfinder elements, all of which help guide the next stage of exploration.
Geophysics – Oasis Montaj and TQIPdb
As with most exploration companies, geophysics was utilised early in our history. Various types of induced polarisation and ground magnetic surveys, coupled with the results of regional airborne surveys have been used to identify significant targets associated with regional structures and intrusions. We use Oasis Montaj and TQIPdb software for processing of raw geophysical data into 2D plans and sections and 3D inversion models.
Database Management – MX Deposit
MX Deposit is a non-SQL database system, with the structure of the database customised for each project. Data is recorded directly into the system (both samples and drill logs) using field-tablets or imported from spreadsheets; assay results are loaded directly into the system. This reduces the potential for human error and the time otherwise spent logging on hard copies and then digitising.
The system is cloud-based, so data is shared easily between field teams and the office staff. All data acquired by Ariana to date is being incorporated into this database structure. Exports from MX Deposit are then used across our other software packages such as ioGAS and Leapfrog.
Track-mounted mobile drilling
The Company adapted a Sandvik DE-130 underground diamond drilling rig for surface drilling applications in 2008 to achieve greater flexibility and improved costs on a US$/m basis. The rig was mounted on remotely operated tracks and the on-board hydraulic systems were modified for more efficient air-cooling. The rig has been used extensively across our project areas up to 2016 and since 2018 has become the subject of a strategic drilling partnership with Mt. Magnet Drilling of Australia, who now provide both RC and diamond drilling services to the Company at preferential rates.