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Aurora Minerals to kick off drilling at Capricorn Southeast Manganese Project

Aurora Minerals (ASX: ARM) has reported that the first drill program at its 100% owned Capricorn Southeast Manganese Project located in central Western Australia is planned to commence in the week of 12 April 2010.

The initial drill program of up to 10,000m reverse circulation (RC) drilling will test the first 30 prospects, located within a 30km strike of the main manganese-mineralised sedimentary sequences in the East-Of-Road and Far East Areas with a total of about 180 mostly wide-spaced angled RC holes.

The first wide spaced drilling and beneficiating program is targeting 30 prospects spread over 6 large areas: Five Fingers, West part New Syndicate JV area, Far East Mango 9 to 103, Mango 4 and adjacent Laterite and Mango 21, West-Of-Road.

At the same time, continuation of last year’s highly successful prospecting and sampling program is expected to identify additional targets for drill testing.

Aurora has received all necessary Program-Fof-Work approvals from the Department of Mines and Petroleum, the drilling contract is in place and a laboratory has been arranged for the beneficiation test work.

Details of discussions between Aurora and Desert Energy Limited (ASX: DSN) for a new proposed joint venture on Aurora’s 100% owned Camel Hills Project were announced on 4 February 2010.

The proposal is to be put to a vote of shareholders of both Aurora and Desert and Aurora will seek Ministerial approval for the tenement transfers for most tenements which are in their first year of term.

Under the joint venture proposal Desert can elect to earn a 70% interest in the Camel Hills Project by sole funding all the way through to production of a Bankable Feasibility Study (NYSE:BFS) for development on the project area.

Aurora could then choose whether to contribute half of the cost of the BFS to remain on 30% or not to contribute and have a 25% interest.

The $3.7m earn-in amount is the same as the valuation of the tenements by the independent geologist.

In addition to its proposed direct interest (30% or 51%) Aurora currently owns nearly half (47%) of the issued capital of Desert. Desert currently has cash reserves of over $3m.

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company