• Norwest Minerals identifies critical mineral targets through gravity, magnetic, and soil sample analysis at its West Arunta project
  • Two new target zones – Duck and Malibu – are defined by gravity-magnetic highs and associated geochemical anomalies
  • The study area reveals potential for lithium, rare earth elements (REE), and niobium, with a specific focus on IOCG (iron oxide copper-gold) targets
  • CEO Charles Schaus highlights the confidence in drill planning work, with plans to explore promising targets, including those resembling WA1 Resources’ Luni niobium discovery

Special Report: Multiple critical mineral targets have been identified from gravity, magnetic and soil sample analysis at Norwest Minerals’ West Arunta project across the northern WA-NT border.

The West Arunta region is emerging as a rare earths and critical minerals hotspot after WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) unearthed its super high-grade Luni niobium deposit.

Up to 90% of niobium is produced in Brazil and is used to strengthen steel alloys, although it is also gaining traction as a cobalt substitute in lithium batteries that charge faster, last longer and reduce fire risks.

Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) and CGN Resources (ASX:CGN) are both in the area looking to prove up REE-niobium mineralisation, while mining major Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is also present in the south West Arunta with five copper-gold tenements.

Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) recently snapped up tenements right next door to Luni and adjacent to Rio’s tenure where it’s identified multiple targets for investigation.

In late 2022, NWM drill tested a 3km REE soil anomaly where >1,000 parts per million total rare earth oxide (TREO) in clays were intersected.


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NWM’s tenements and other project areas in the West Arunta. Pic supplied: (NWM)


Two new target zones

NWM’s gravity study – which represents just 6% of its West Arunta landholdings – has identified the Duck and Malibu target zones of interest.

They host several large, priority-one drill targets defined by coincident gravity-magnetic highs and associated IOCG geochemical anomalies.

A gravity study completed in March found 31 new critical mineral targets encompassing various deposit styles and subsequent analysis of a gravity program has highlighted these new zones for an upcoming drill program.

Two zones within the study area, including the Duck target zone, are already heritage-cleared for drilling while Malibu will require clearance.

Structural Interpretation reveals a potential fold system at Malibu with coincident magnetic and gravity highs in the fold hinge; and at Duck, a 5km x 1km elongated structure is identified as an IOCG target.

Duck has a ~1km wide, north-south striking IOCG geochemical feature of coincident lithium, REE and niobium and a second, larger niobium surface geochemical feature to the west.

These geophysical targets are supported by several strong high-priority geochemical anomalies identified by NWM back in 2022.


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The gravity map of the priority-one Malibu and Duck zones of interest. Pic supplied: (NWM)


NWM CEO Charles Schaus says the combination of anomalous gravity, magnetics and surface geochemistry provides a high level of confidence for drill planning work.

“From the new gravity and recent magnetic analysis, we’ve identified zones ‘Duck’ & ‘Malibu’ as hosting several large priority-one drill targets,” Schaus said.

“The similarities between Norwest’s Malibu target and WA1’s Luni niobium discovery are very promising. Norwest plans to be back in the field next quarter.

“Also as discussed in the recent Bulgera gold update, planning to drill test the large near-mine gold oxide targets is progressing with Norwest scheduling the fieldwork to commence ASAP.”



This article was developed in collaboration with Norwest Minerals, 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.