• A 10,000m RC drilling program has commenced at Aileron
• The program is aiming to outline the size of  Encounter’s niobium-REE carbonatite discovery at Crean
• The company will also test targets close to its border with WA1

Encounter Resources has kicked off 10,000m of RC drilling at its Aileron project in the West Arunta region of WA with the first priority testing the Crean target where it has intersected mineralised carbonatites in two earlier holes 1.5km apart.

The two earlier diamond drill holes at Crean intersected mineralised carbonatites hosting high-grade niobium (Nb2O5) and rare earths (TREO), including ‘significant’ neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) content.

Niobium is mainly used to make steel lighter and stronger, but also has emerging uses in lithium-ion batteries, intelligent glass, solar panels, 5G tech, and nuclear energy. NdPr is the high value heavy rare earths used to produce the permanent magnets in electric vehicles and wind turbines.

The company has high hopes that follow up drilling will extend the niobium-REE mineralisation at Crean, as well as testing geophysical targets along strike from Crean and immediately north of WA1 Resources’ (ASX:WA1) Luni high-grade niobium discovery.

“An RC drill program of north-south traverses will outline the size of the niobium-REE carbonatite intersected at Crean,” Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) MD Will Robinson said.

“The program will also test the large gravity features identified at Hurley and Wild and complete the first drilling at the Green target north of Luni.”

Right next-door to WA1’s niobium-REE discovery

WA1 Resources made its Luni niobium-REE discovery in 2022, with shallow drilling hit 13m at 5.0% Nb2O5 within an overall interval of 31m at 3.5% Nb2O5.

For reference, there are three major niobium mines currently operating; two have resource grades of between 1% and 2.5% niobium, while the third sits at around 0.5%.

It has been a company maker, with WA1 gaining 3,500% from 14c to $5.30 per share.

Importantly, Luni sits right next to Encounter’s landholding, with Encounter eyeing a potential continuation of mineralisation into the Green target.

Encounter Resources
Pic: Planned RC drill program targets (dotted outlines) over residual gravity.

Encounter’s drill program will also test the Endurance Fault position south of the Caird target.

“The initial RC holes are planned to a drill depth of ~200m to test the full oxide profile and to test for zones of high-grade mineralisation within the primary carbonatite,” Robinson added.

The drilling program will run to the end of the 2023 field season, with assays expected between October and December and initial metallurgical testing to follow.

Simultaneously, the company is undertaking diamond drilling at its Jesica and Carrara copper-zinc project farm-in with South32 (ASX:S32) in the NT, and at its Yaneena copper project farm-in with IGO (ASX:IGO) in WA.



This article was developed in collaboration with Encounter Resources Limited a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.