Universal Resources said that drilling at the Blackard deposit in Queensland, Australia, has begun by the company’s joint venture partner Xstrata.

The SEEP joint venture (SJV) forms part of the Roseby copper project agreement with Xstrata that allows Xstrata to gain a 51% interest in the area by spending either $15m on exploration or $10m on exploration and a feasibility study by 30 June 2012.

The SJV covers an area of nearly 174km² within the 1,650km² Roseby copper project tenements in the Cloncurry area of Queensland.

Under the agreement, Xstrata subsidary Mt Isa Mines will test the sulphide system underlying the Blackard copper deposit through a programme of up to eight diamond drill holes.

In an initial three-hole programme, totalling 1,300m of drilling, two holes are proposed to test the strike extent of the high-grade copper intersected in October 2008.

A third hole is planned to execute infill drilling of the 1,250m strike length of the western sulphide mineralisation.

An additional five drill holes will be subject to the results obtained for the first three holes.