Mantra Resources is ramping up the 2010 exploration and resource infill drilling programs at the Nyota prospect, part of the wholly-owned Mkuju River Project (MRP) in southern Tanzania. A trenching program will also be completed concurrently with the drilling.

The company said that it has taken advantage of lower than expected rainfall during the first three months of the year and has already completed in excess of 20,000mt of infill drilling. During the same period in 2009 no drilling was completed at Nyota.

The prospect currently hosts a mineral resource estimate (MRE) that comprises 25.1 million tonnes averaging 515ppm for 28.5 million pounds of U3O8 classified into the indicated resource category, and 57.3 million tonnes averaging 442ppm for 55.8 million pounds of U3O8 classified into the inferred resource category.

The drilling programs will comprise diamond core, aircore and open-hole drilling and are being completed with the objectives to increase the overall resource base by extending ‘open’ resource areas and testing new priority targets, proximal to the existing resource areas; to upgrade the resource classification of portions of the current MRE to the indicated and measured categories; to complete additional sterilization drilling to facilitate optimal site selection of waste dumps and site infrastructure; and to allow further assessment of the high grade surface mineralization, the company said.

The resource infill drilling program will comprise approximately 2,000mt of diamond core, 13,000mt of aircore and 50,000mt of open-hole drilling. With the effects of the wet season dissipating, three air rigs are now operating at site.

A diamond rig and a fourth air rig are currently being mobilized to site and will be in operation in the coming weeks. The program is anticipated to take approximately four months to complete and will facilitate the announcement of a revised MRE in the fourth quarter of 2010, the company said.

Surface mapping and geological model development undertaken during 2009 enhanced the company’s exploration targeting capability and lead to the generation and ranking of several priority target areas, proximal to the known areas of mineralization at Nyota.

According to the company, the initial drill testing of a select number of these targets in late 2009 delivered outstanding results, including the discovery of the Nyota NE deposit, which currently comprises 2.5 million tonnes averaging 503ppm for 2.8 million pounds U3O8 of indicated resources and 15.4 million tonnes averaging 469ppm for 15.9 million pounds U3O8 of inferred resources.

The 2010 exploration drilling program is a continuation of the evaluation of these priority target areas and will comprise approximately 1,000mt of diamond core and 25,000mt of aircore drilling on a nominal 100mt by 100mt spacing. This phase of the program is scheduled to be completed by December, and a further revision of the MRE is expected in early 2011. A further 9,000mt of open-hole sterilization drilling is also planned.