Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has begun construction of an exploration decline to access the Ranger 3 Deeps orebody at its Ranger mine in the Northern Territory of Australia. ERA will invest an estimated A$120 million in the decline to provide a platform for close-spaced underground drilling to further define the Ranger 3 Deeps ore body and to explore areas adjacent to the resource. ERA has engaged Macmahon Holdings to construct the 2.2-km decline to a depth of about 400 m.

The Ranger 3 Deeps ore body is located adjacent to ERA’s Pit 3, which is nearing the end of its operating life. The orebody hosts an estimated resource of 34,000 mt of contained uranium oxide. In addition to the exploration decline project, ERA has allocated A$55 million for further studies.

ERA also is conducting an extensive surface drilling program on prospective and under-explored areas of the Ranger project area during 2012-2014 at an estimated cost of A$40 million.