Norwest embarks on rare earths hunt in West Arunta, one of Australia’s hottest critical mineral provinces
With planning and heritage surveys now complete, Norwest Minerals is set to launch into a 230-hole resource drilling campaign at the Arunta West clay rare earths project.
Arunta West is proving to be a hotspot for critical minerals exploration, with significant discoveries by WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) at West Arunta and Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) at Aileron shining a spotlight on the underexplored region.
Last year, Norwest drilled 20 RC holes into a 3km REE soil anomaly at Arunta West, which captures 135kms of the REE enriched Arunta Belt Granite (ABG) – Bitter Springs Sediments contact zone.
The three southernmost holes intersected +1,000 ppm TREO in granite saprolite clays, the first reported encounter of clay hosted REE in the region.
In October, a detailed drilling campaign will get under way to establish a maiden resource.
The drill bit will start spinning in the southeast of the project area to test geochemical anomalies, while in the northeast, drilling aims to extend the northern 3km strike.
“The October drill program will test high-priority clay-hosted REE targets along 15km of the 135km REE enriched granite–sediment contact,” NWM CEO Charles Schaus says.
“The results will be used to generate a maiden REE resource estimate, conduct extensive REE recovery test work and design geophysical programs capable of identifying REE clay ‘hot-spots’ across our 1,600km² Arunta West project area.”
The previous drilling showed eight intersections of >1,000 parts per million (ppm) TREO, five >500ppm TREO and 7 >250ppm TREO.
As it progresses towards a maiden resource estimate, Norwest says it will resume further metallurgical test work once samples are recovered from the larger, more representative areas which will be drill tested next month.
The Arunta West aircore drilling program is expected to follow the highly anticipated RC drill program commencing next month at the company’s Bali copper project.
Maiden drilling last year hit a highlight 52m @ 1.4% Cu from 0m inc. 12m @ 4.4% Cu from 4m.
The focus will be the undrilled ‘Deep South’ prospect where sampling identified 10 copper-gold bearing quartz veins extending at surface for over 2.5km, with the 39 rock chips collected averaging 20% copper.
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.