An airborne survey which will determine just how vast the quantities of gold and other precious minerals are in the Falklands is nearing completion.
The aeromagnetic survey is being conducted by Fugro Airborne Surveys using a Brazilian Cessna 400 aircraft, crewed by 4 Brazilians, which defied an Argentine Government ban, and found its way to the Falklands, via Southern Chile and Cape Horn. Buenos Aires currently refuses permission for flights to fly over its air space enroute to the Falklands, other than the scheduled weekly Lan Chile service. The Lan Chile flight forms part of a 1999 Agreement to which Argentina was one of the signatories.
Already samples of gold have been discovered on the Falklands during land based prospecting. Now a newly formed company, Falklands Minerals Limited, has taken the search one step further with the aeromagnetic survey.
The Brazilian aircraft is surveying some 14,000 sq km of Falklands’ territory, generally operating at 500m intervals. However in three key areas the aerial survey is far more intensified, with 250m flight line spacing being conducted. These areas include Mt. Usborne in the north of East Falklands, Glorious Hill in Lafonia to the south, and the Warrah and Mt. Robinson areas on the north-west of West Falklands.
Once the results of the aeromagnetic survey have been analyzed, Falklands Minerals Ltd will begin land based drilling in the areas identified by the aerial survey. This work could start as early as the austral summer of 2005, and is expected to provide employment for many Islanders.
Geology shows that the Islands were once part of South Africa, where vast deposits of gold are mined. If, as expected, considerable quantities of precious minerals are discovered on the Falklands, then the Islands could become a prospector’s dream, while ensuring a financially secure future for the 2,500 population.