Desert Metals (ASX:DM1) plans to begin drilling at its Belele gold project next week as part of a new wave of exploration programs.

The company will also conduct metallurgical test work and heritage surveys at its three key projects, signifying an important step forward for Desert Metals.

The drilling at Belele will involve testing 15km of greenstone belt for gold and base metals, with around 100 holes to be drilled within the Carbar Shear Zone.

Additionally, the heritage survey at the Dingo Pass rare earth elements (REE) project will precede a 5,000m–10,000m drill program, aimed at defining the eastern extension of the Tower REE resource owned by Krakatoa Resources.

Following the announcement, shares of Desert Metals were unchanged at $0.11.