Norwest’s Arunta West project in Western Australia is looking increasingly attractive as drilling continues to return strong rare earth oxides intercepts with high levels of valuable magnet rare earths.
While all 18 holes in Norwest’s recent aircore drill program intersected enriched TREO intercepts, it also returned a standout result of 14m grading 1,680 parts per million (ppm) TREO with 26% MREO from 21m, including a 1m intercept at 5,076ppm TREO (28% MREO) from 26m in hole 23AWAC183.
23AWAC18 was drilled to twin hole KWAC007, the latter which was first made by First Quantum Minerals in 2015. Both holes intersected paleochannel clays from 21m with KWAC007 returning a 13m intercept at 1,430ppm TREO.
Meanwhile, 16 of the holes intersected REE enrichment hosted in wide, near surface intervals of Bitter Springs saprolite and paleochannel clays, which is significant for Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) given their prevalence across the project.
Samples from the drill program which returned high tenor REE will now be submitted to Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) for recovery testwork to determine if they classify as ionic adsorption clays or clays requiring a stronger acid leach process to liberate the rare earth elements.
Wide expenses of potential mineralisation
Norwest noted that while little is known about the REE enrichment of the target clays at Arunta West, their geologic setting suggests the REEs were released into solution from the weathering Arunta Belt Granite (ABG) parent rock with the soluble REEs migrating tens of kilometres south through the BSS clays.
This grants the potential for mineralisation to be found across wide swaths of the project as the Arunta West tenements capture 135km of the REE enriched ABG-BSS contact zone.
Norwest’s coverage of this zone will grow once its application for a large tenement across the border into the Northern Territory is granted.
Independent geochemical analysis work undertaken on infill soil samples collected in late 2022 across the northern project tenement E80/5031 also highlighted several exciting REE anomalies including a 1.5km by 2km coincident REE–lithium drill target located about 5km west of hole AWAC018 along the ABG-BSS contact.
More drilling to come
Norwest has already planned out a 233-hole aircore drill program to extend and infill the 3km drill zone (NW Drill Area) as well as test the highly prospective targets along strike from hole AWAC018 (SE Drill Area).
This includes the previously mentioned large, REE-lithium anomaly.
Heritage surveys will begin in mid-August with drilling expected to start in September.
This article was developed in collaboration with Norwest Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.