The increasing view on the prospectivity of Encounter’s Jessica copper project has seen diversified mining major South32 expand its farm-in tenure by a whopping +4,000km2 under an exploration earn-in deal.

South32, which can earn a 60% initial interest in the project by spending $15m on exploration over 10 years, has expanded its farm-in tenure by 60% to about 10,300km2 to capture exciting new copper targets defined by the recent reprocessing of seismic lines.

Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR), which is free-carried to the completion of a Scoping Study, adds that its farm-in partner is expected to launch a maiden diamond drilling program totalling 3,500m in June or July.

“In 2022 we utilised new, widespread seismic coverage, together with a detailed gravity survey, to generate targets at Jessica for drilling in 2023. This exercise also highlighted compelling new targets adjacent to Jessica,” managing director Will Robinson said.

“As a result, the South32 farm-in tenure has been significantly expanded to include these new targets.

“Diamond drilling of the initial targets identified within the original Jessica tenure is scheduled to commence in June/July 2023.”

Jessica project

Jessica is located along key structural corridors east of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory and is prospective for sediment-hosted copper and IOCG style deposits.

The reprocessing of seismic data was carried out to provide greater detail of the geology and structure in the upper 1,000m of the tenement.

Additionally, a 2km spaced gravity survey was also completed with 1km spaced gravity infill data collected over a series of high priority magnetic targets.

This work identified a series of drill targets including the Zeta IOCG target, a significant and discrete gravity feature coincident with a prominent magnetic feature on the margin of a large interpreted intrusive body.

A discrete seismic reflector at depth also immediately underlies Zeta.

Other activity

Outside of Jessica, Encounter is currently drill testing three geophysical targets at its Aileron project in the West Arunta region. The targets are in the neighbourhood of WA1 Resources’ Luni and P2 niobium discoveries which have caught the attention of investors and the industry. Results from the Encounter drilling are expected in June or July this year.

A recent Falcon gravity survey in the West Arunta turned up what Encounter described as “extraordinary new targets” at Aileron with potential for copper, gold and rare earth mineralisation.

As well as South32, Encounter has attracted BHP to its Northern Territory copper hunt through a $25 million exploration farm-in over the Elliott copper project.

IGO is also funding exploration for copper on Encounter’s ground in the Paterson region of Western Australia where the Havieron and Winu discoveries are now moving towards development.




This article was developed in collaboration with Encounter Resources, 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.