Norwest finds ‘significant’ rare earth anomaly at Arunta West

Feb 28, 2022 | News

Norwest Minerals is having a great start to the week, with soil sample analysis from the Arunta West project returning a strong rare earth element (REE) anomaly. 

The anomaly is associated with copper-gold and base metals and shows coincident cerium (Ce), lanthanum (La) and yyttrium (Y) extending along a 3km section.

Plus, it has similarities to the high-grade Dazzler and Iceman REE deposits at Northern Minerals’ (ASX:NTU) Browns Range located outside of Halls Creek in WA.

To put this in context, recent follow-up RC drilling at Dazzler has delineated an inferred mineral resource of 0.21Mt at 2.33 Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO).


IOCG/base metals system potential

The company says the presence of elevated copper-gold and base metals at the margin of the ‘REE lows’ show potential for an Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) and/or base metals system.

“Norwest’s focus has been to explore for and identify IOCG systems in the Arunta West region, so we are very excited by the identification of a possible IOCG system and the REE anomaly,” Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) CEO Charles Schaus said.

“Interestingly, the REE anomaly has cerium and lanthanum grades almost twice the tenor of those grades first used to identify the high-grade Dazzler and Iceman prospects at the Browns Range REE operation.”


And major players are paying attention

Norwest says interest in the mineral resource potential of the Arunta belt is increasing with Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) Exploration arm taking a very large ground position in the area.

The Rio controlled tenements now share ~50km of tenement borders with the company’s Arunta West tenements.

Then there’s Independence Group (ASX:IGO) next door, which holds ~15,600km2 of the belt extending over 300km from the WA border into the Northern Territory.

IGO exploration has identified multiple gold, gold-copper-lead-zinc and nickel-cobalt prospects along the Arunta belt.

Arunta West tenements showing 2021 soil sample coverage and location of rare earth anomaly.
Insert map shows location of Browns Range relative to the Arunta West project.

Follow-up fieldwork planned

Norwest is continuing to work through the large volume of geochemical data to identify additional anomalies that warrant further exploration work.

The REE samples will be submitted for a full suite of rare earth elements to gain an understanding of the distribution of the TREO, heavy rare earth elements (HREE) and light rare earth elements.

“Our aim now is to mobilise our people back into the field to commence follow-up exploration while the company continues its careful analysis of our very comprehensive geochemical database covering 840sqkm of predominantly virgin ground,” Schaus said.


This article was developed in collaboration with Norwest Minerals Limited, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.