Norwest’s plan to drill test two high priority geochemical targets at its Arunta West project has been boosted by a $180,000 grant from the Western Australia state government.

The grant under the Exploration Incentive Scheme, which co-pays half the drill costs up to the grant amount, will support the 3,500m reverse circulation program to test a 3km by 2km rare earth elements anomaly and a 6km by 2km lithium anomaly.

Assay results from infill soil sampling of the lithium zone and along the flanks of the REE anomaly are being received and analysed by Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) to refine the drill targets while all required permits for drilling to start after 1 December 2022 are already in place.

However, drilling isn’t expected to start until 2023, due to the imminent start of the wet season in the area.

“Norwest is very excited by the prospect of drilling these geochemical targets and we certainly appreciate the recognition and support received from the WA government,” chief executive officer Charles Schaus said.

The Norwest drilling follows explorer WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) making a REE discovery on its West Arunta project located just 70km away which has tongues wagging about a potential new mineral province in the region.

REE and lithium targets

Both targets are located at the western end of the 80km long tenement package.

The REE anomaly was found to have highly elevated, coincident, rare earth elements cerium, lanthanum and yttrium concentrated in zones along a 3km section of the contact between the Mount Webb granites and Bitter Springs sediments.

This contact is supported by geophysical evidence including radiometric and magnetic surveys with the location and geological setting being consistent with other REE projects in the Arunta region such as Brown’s Range about 160km southeast of Halls Creek and the Nolans project at Nolan’s Bore 135km west of Alice Springs.

Notably, the tenor of the coincident cerium and lanthanum surface samples over Arunta West are more than double those of the same elements used to identify the Dazzler and Iceman prospects at Brown’s Range in 2013-14.

Meanwhile, analysis of multi-element assay results from widely spaced soil samples collected across tenement E80/5031 highlighted the 6km by 2km area as having zones of coincident and elevated lithium, tantalum, and niobium, which are all associated with fertile LCT pegmatites.

The anomalous LCT-pegmatite zones are situated within the Bittersprings / Paterson / Heavitree Formation located along the Mount Webb granite contact where regional scale structures crosscut and appear to focus these key elements.



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.