Encounter (ASX:ENR) discovers niobium in West Arunta near WA1November 3, 2023
We look at why WA1 neighbour Encounter Resources is blipping the radar on making niobium discoveries at the Aileron project in the West Arunta region this week.
What does Encounter do?
Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) is a Western Australian explorer with prospective ground in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. While the Subiaco-based company has attracted some big-name project partners in mining majors BHP Group (ASX:BHP, NYSE:BHP), clean-energy metals company IGO (ASX:IGO), and BHP offshoot South32 (ASX:S32, JSE:S32, LSE:S32). It also holds a solid portfolio of wholly owned projects.
Highlights of the Aileron project in the West Arunta region
Encounter’s 100%-owned assets is defined by its vast 1,765 square kilometre Aileron niobium-rare-earths-copper project in WA’s West Arunta region, where the company this week revealed the discovery of niobium-REE mineralised carbonatites at Green and Emily targets.
Who’s in West Arunta?
The Aileron niobium asset surrounds Tier 1-deposit-hungry WA1 Resources’ (ASX:WA1) niobium-enriched Luni carbonatite discovery at its West Arunta iron-oxide copper-gold project. A Luni mineral resource estimate is expected in the first half of 2024, with the prospect now featuring high and extremely high grades of 1-8.3% niobium oxide. WA1, in turn, is connected to Lycaon Resources’ (ASX:LYN) Stansmore prospect – a potential niobium-REE-platinium-group-elements asset – and Encounter’s Worsley IOCG-REE asset.
Maps show the three northern West Arunta explorers sitting south of FMG, which has a significant ground holding in the southern Tanama gold belt built up after they pegged out. The trio is about 540km east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and around 600km west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. BHP, South32 and Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) are also in West Arunta.
On Tuesday, Encounter unveiled results from phase-one drilling at Green and Emily targets. At Green, it intersected carbonatite in two holes of seven, at the east, one from a shallow depth of about 40 metres and the other from 108m. Both holes were variably anomalous in niobium and REE until the end of the holes. At Emily, the first RC drill hole featured carbonatites from 50m in three holes 200m apart. The interceptions were variably mineralised with niobium and REE to the end of holes about 180-234m underground. Emily is a newer target in Aileron south on an Endurance Fault that runs to WA1’s Luni discovery.
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