Royal Road is a Publicly-Listed Company
It is a cooperative, it's technical team, management and partners work with its shareholders and share the risk to find and responsibly develop copper and gold ore deposits.
It costs millions of dollars to find copper and gold deposits and billions of dollars to responsibly develop them.
1. Strategy and Target Generation
A balance of prospective potential and investment enivironment. Royal Road specializes in prospective post-conflict countries where discoveries are most likely and most needed.
Hit the books!
What can we learn from history, scientific journals, news, and other articles.
Where are the resources in time and space?
Reconnaissance time! Ground-truth the research
2. Grass Roots Exploration
Areas of interest that are not already claimed are secured under license.
With owners of areas which are already claimed, traditional owners and other stakeholders
Reconnaissance and Map Making
Regional reconnaissance mapping and smapling
Stream Sediment Sampling
Systematic collection of payment from streams to test for traces of copper, gold, and other indicator minerals.
3. Project Definition
Follow-up of grass roots work or a deal on an existing property has led to something which geological models suggest has potential to be a mine.
This the point where communication and community engagement is crucial
A deeper dive on the geology and exploration history of the area
Rock-chips, saw-cut channels and soil samples are collected to analyze for copper, gold and indicator minerals
Surface or airborne geophysics is collected to map magnetic or sulphide minerals in the rocks
Sometimes trenches may be dug, mapped, sampled and then back filled and revegetated
Data integration and Interpretation
All data sets are processed, integrated and interpreted using computer software to identify potential drilling targets in three dimensions
The geological team now need to convince community, company and government that the project should be permitted for drilling.
4. Scout Drilling
This is the crucial first phase of drilling. It is important that the drill preparation work has been done correctly and that drill holes have been well-located. Often ore bodies have been missed at this stage due to poor geology and badly located drill holes!
At the scout drilling stage it is normally diamond drilling that is conducted as it provides the best geological information
Drill core is logged by geologists, sometimes using spectral analysis machines and geophysical instruments. Once logged, the core is cut in half and sent to laboratories for analysis
Drilling contractors charge by the meter drilled. A typical scout drilling program may be in the order of 2000 - 5000 meters. Costs vary widely but recent estimates suggest total costs of about $200 per meter
After logging and cutting, half of the drill core is sent to an independent laboratory where it is assayed for gold and copper and for many other elements and metals
Once geochemical results are received, drill holes, results and geology are plotted in 3D software and estimates of potential can be made
When a drilling program is complete, drilling pads and other earthworks are rehabilitated and revegetated
5. Resource Drilling
If the results from scout drilling are successful, the drilling program may then move to the stage of resource definition.This often utilizes a combination of diamond and reverse circulation drill rigs.
Reverse Circulation (RC) Drilling
RC drilling uses compressed air to drive a pneumatic drilling bit and push broken pieces of rock back up the drilling tube for sampling.
Once there is sufficient drilling on sufficient spacing then a resource can be calculated.
At this point detailed environmental and social baseline studies are undertaken.
Resources are calculated by independent qualified professionals. The type of resource varies depending on the confidence in its calculation. Inferred resources are the lowest in category of confidence. The highest category is the measured resource category.
6. Development Plans
Once enough drilling and other geological information has been collected, economic, environmental and social impact assessments are made. At this point the team works very closely with certified independent specialists.
More drilling is common at this stage and is usually a combination of resource, sterilization, geotechnical and environmental drilling.
This will have commenced earlier but now detailed tests on how to extract the copper or gold are undertaken.
Economic parameters are included to constrain the geologic model and convert ore resources to ore reserves.
Efficient yet economic mine designs are tested at this point.
Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA)
This is a crucial stage in acquiring permits and achieving social license. ESIA’s are conducted by highly reputable independent consulting firms and must be completed to the very highest standards acceptable to governments, communities and the banks who would be lending money to the project.
Feasibility, Financing and Construction
Once economic assessments have been completed and an ESIA is underway, an independent firm will conduct a Feasibility Study. If the Feasibility Study and ESIA are positive, then financing to construct the project will be sought. This financing is generally provided as a loan and for the operations we are looking for, may be in the order of 500 million to a billion dollars!