The greenfields exploration portfolio comprises one advanced drilling project, ten initial drilling projects and six target definition projects in Peru, Chile, Mali, Ethiopia, Canada, USA, Australia and the Philippines. During the quarter 22,572 metres were drilled on greenfields projects compared with 34,888 metres in the March 2013 quarter and 53,635 metres in the June 2012 quarter. After the recent portfolio review and implementation of the new corporate strategy, greenfields exploration will focus on lower capital and higher margin gold targets. As a result decisions were taken during the quarter to sell two advanced drilling projects, the Woodjam project in Canada and the Talas project in Kyrgyzstan. We have also decided to discontinue work on five initial drilling projects while two new initial drilling projects have commenced.
As a result of a full data review of the Kangare project in Mali, five priority one target areas were highlighted for further work and follow-up drilling commenced in the June 2013 quarter Final due diligence has been completed for the Kouroufing project in western Mali and an option agreement was signed at the end of June 2013. A 3,000 metre drilling programme will commence after the rainy season to test two robust gold targets which have been defined by soil geochemical anomalies and artisanal workings. In Ethiopia, a 4,000 metre phase 2 drilling programme commenced in July 2013 to follow up positive phase 1 drilling results at the Ashashire target and to test the Rader Ridge target at the Asosa project in the western part of the country. The Asosa project is a joint venture with Benzu Resources Limited. Exploration completed to date has defined a number of promising targets at the Asosa project which comprises about 750 square kilometres of an emerging gold belt.
At the Woodjam joint venture project in British Columbia, Canada, new mineral resource estimates were completed on three of the porphyry copper-gold centres during the June 2013 quarter and the decision was made to dispose of the project. A sales process commenced in May 2013. Along the Cadillac-Larder Lake Break in the Ontario, Canada, further drilling was put on hold at the Larder Lake project during the September quarter to allow time to re-model the existing gold resources defined by historic drilling at the Cheminis and Bear Lake zones. Target definition work is underway on the nearby Lincoln-Nippising project, also in Ontario, and a joint venture agreement was signed with Yorbeau Resources Incorporated on the Rouyn project in Quebec, Canada where drilling is expected to start in the September 2013 quarter. A joint venture agreement was also signed with Colorado Resources Limited on the Oro project in the Yukon Territory, Canada and drilling commenced in July.
The advanced drilling programme for the 2012-2013 field season concluded at the Salares Norte project in Chile in the June 2013 quarter and all field personnel were de-mobilised for the Andean winter. Resource modeling, metallurgical test work and other studies are in progress and drilling is planned to resume in the December 2013 quarter. Initial drilling programmes were also completed on three targets within the nearby Chile Recon project. As a result of the change in corporate strategy, it was decided to withdraw from the Taguas joint venture project and close down the exploration activities in Argentina.
Gold Fields appointed Jefferies International as an advisor to explore strategic options for the Talas copper-gold project in Kyrgyzstan. In the East Lachlan Region of New South Wales, Australia, exploration activities were suspended on the Blayney joint venture project and target definition work commenced at the Cheesemans Creek joint venture project. At the Guinaoang project in the Philippines, the diamond drilling programme commenced in the June 2013 quarter.
Near mine exploration
Gold Fields completed 45,041 metres of drilling on near mine projects adjacent to its international operations in the June quarter.
The main focus of diamond, reverse circulation and air core drilling was at St Ives in Western Australia. Infill Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling was completed at Invincible North. This is planned to form the basis of an indicated resource estimation during the September 2013 quarter. In addition, deeper diamond drilling was completed at Invincible North which is expected to enable a maiden underground inferred resource estimation. Invincible North extension RC drilling was completed on 80 metre spaced lines with encouraging results, with geological interpretation and resource modeling to be completed in the September 2013 quarter. Drilling recommenced at the Waroonga North target at Agnew, Western Australia during June 2013.