Norwest increases Arunta West rare earth tenure across the NT border

Jul 12, 2023 | News

Norwest Minerals has lodged a 363km2 tenement application over prospective rare earth element (REE) exploration ground in the Northern Territory (NT) – bringing its total ground position along the Arunta belt to +1,600km2.

The 117-block application was submitted last week following a data review of historical drilling in Western Australia which highlighted strong REE results at the WA state and Northern territory border.

The company is targeting prospective REE enriched clays along 135km of the geological contact between the Bitter Springs Group (BSG) clays and the Arunta Belt Granites (ABG).

In 2015, First Quantum Minerals (FQM) intersected REE enriched BSG clays in wide-spaced aircore holes whilst searching for sediment-hosted copper.

Their drilling within the Arunta West project area included 100km along the contact between ABG and BSG sediments extending to the WA-NT border. No copper was intersected and FQM relinquished the ground in 2016.

As there is no evidence to suggest the clay-rich REE mineralisation stops at the WA-NT border, Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM) submitted its application for the vacant Northern Territory ground.

Map of Arunta West project area showing and new NT tenement application.

Next phase of Arunta drilling planned

Last week Norwest announced the completion of its maiden Arunta West drill program targeting ionic adsorption clays (IAC) along a 3km REE soil anomaly identified in late 2021.

The program also included redrilling historical hole KWAC007 located 25km to the southeast with hole AWAC018.

Strong REE clay-hosted mineralisation was encountered at 20 vertical metres in both drill holes and drill sample readings taken in the field by pXRF indicate a direct association between elevated REE and wide drill intervals of BSG paleochannel and saprolitic clays.

The drill samples are being assayed for REE in Perth by Intertek with results expected later this month.

The company has now planned a 312-hole aircore drilling program to extend and infill around the 3km REE anomaly and drill test large, highly prospective targets adjacent to hole AWAC018 including a nearby 1km x 1.5km REE-lithium geochemical anomaly identified last year.

Norwest expects the drilling to commence early in September 2023.


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