Fugro Airborne Surveys Pty Ltd, an operating company of Fugro N.V., has signed a term sheet with BHP Billiton, to acquire BHP Billiton’s proprietary Falcon geophysical technology. Under the terms of the sale agreement the Falcon assets are to be sold to Fugro with BHP Billiton retaining exclusive use and priority access to the technology for minerals exploration until March 2010. Final completion of the sale is subject to the satisfaction of conditions precedent and it is anticipated that execution of the sale agreement will be completed by March 2008.
Falcon is an Airborne Gravity Gradiometer (AGG) technology and was jointly developed by BHP Billiton and Lockheed Martin. Since initial deployment in 1999, technology enhancement has led to improved operational efficiencies and data quality. Four Falcon AGG systems have been built to date, and three are currently installed in Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft operated by Fugro. The fourth system can be installed on both fixed wing and helicopter platforms. This system is currently installed in a helicopter managed by Fugro on behalf of BHP Billiton.
Ian Maxwell, Vice President BHP Billiton Minerals Exploration, said: “We have a long and productive relationship with Fugro Airborne Surveys and through this agreement we will continue to use Falcon technology through a world class geophysical service provider, as we focus our efforts on discovery of new mineral deposits.”
Steve Thomson, Director of Airborne Surveys for Fugro N.V., states: “BHP Billiton’s Falcon system has been a remarkable success story so far and we see this acquisition as opening up exciting new opportunities for its deployment and development. We look forward to continuing the very productive relationship we have with BHP Billiton as well as offering new services to the natural resource exploration community at large.”