Encounter Resources – The Aurora Project

As far as nearology plays go, Encounter Resources is exceptionally well placed. If you haven’t been following, in 2022 WA1 Resources conducted a maiden drill program in the West Arunta region of Western Australia. WA1 Resources targeted as they said ‘large gravity-magnetic anomalies that can potentially indicate the presence of large mineralised systems‘. Their strategy worked! They found an extraordinary niobium deposit at their Luni target, and have recently announced (1 July 2024) a Mineral Resource Estimate of 200 Mt at 1.0% Nb2O5. If you want to catch up on this discovery, here’s a link to an article that I wrote in January of this year on WA1 Resources and niobium.

The following image shows Encounter’s Aileron Project location relative to WA1 Resources’ Luni discovery. In fact, Encounter holds ground to the north, east and south of Luni.

Encounter’s Aileron project location next to WA1 Resources’ Luni Discovery – Magnetics (RTP). Source: Encounter Resources 24 June 2024 ASX release.

The Luni discovery has been made in the West Arunta region in WA. I’ve added a red box in the map below to indicate the approximate location. Arunta is in fact a geological region located in the southern part of the North Australian Craton (see inset map of Australia in the top right). As you can see, the Aileron Province of the Arunta region extends from Western Australia across into the Northern Territory.

Location of the Arunta region in Australia (inset) and the Aileron Province, Warumpi Province and Irindina Province within the Arunta region (modified from Scrimgeour et al., 2005). Source: Conductively driven, high-thermal gradient metamorphism in the Anmatjira Range, Arunta region, central Australia. Anderson et. al.

On the 24 June 2024, Encounter Resources released “shallow, high-grade niobium-REE mineralisation in three adjacent drillholes:

  • 52m @ 3.0% Nb2Ofrom 81m to EOH including 16m @ 6.0% Nb2O5
  • 32m @ 2.5% Nb2O5 from 67m to EOH including 12m @ 3.3% Nb2O5
  • 15m @ 1.5% Nb2O5 from 120m to EOH including 2m @ 3.3% Nb2O5

They seem to be onto something.

As we wait for further assays from Encounter Resources’ current drill program, I wanted to take a closer look at other ground they hold. The following map shows Encounter’s tenements held across WA and the NT. You can see Encounter’s Aileron Project – that surrounds WA1’s Luni discovery – in the bottom left. Notice also Encounter’s Aurora Project across the state border in the NT.

Encounter copper and lithium projects in the Northern Territory – Project Location Plan. Source: Encounter Resources Quarterly Report for the Period Ended 30 March 2024 released 30 April 2024

I decided to see what I could find out about Aurora and so I visited the Northern Territory (NT) Government’s STRIKE website.

I managed to find Encounter’s Aurora project tenement applications and have highlighted these in green. The website also allows you to highlight major geological faults. From a geological perspective, these are the fluid pathways for the formation of deposits. The faults are the black lines that run across the tenements, sometimes the tenement boundaries are following these fault lines.

Encounter Resources Tenement Applications and Major Geological Faults Source: Northern Territory Government STRIKE website.

The following image shows the importance of faults relative to the geological deposits, known as carbonatites, found at WA1 Resources’ Luni and Encounter Resources’ Crean. Notice the Endurance Fault that runs alongside Luni and the Elephant Island Fault that runs alongside Crean.

Aileron Carbonatites and Targets over RTP magnetics. Source Encounter Resources ASX release 24 June 2024.

I then managed to switch on Magnetic TMI (TMI stands for Total Magnetic Intensity). Remember how WA1 Resources had targeted ‘large gravity-magnetic anomalies‘ back in 2022.

Encounter’s EL 33399, highlighted in green, seems to have a significant magnetic anomaly.

Source: Northern Territory Government STRIKE website.

This is what tenement application EL33399 looks like close up, with Magnetic TMI switched on. Notice how the anomaly is bounded by two converging faults that meet at the east end of the tenement.

EL 33399 Magnetic TMI Source: Northern Territory Government STRIKE website.

Gravity surveys have been a useful tool for WA1 Resources. I managed to switch on Gravity Residual data for the tenement and it showed the following. There seems to be a gravity anomaly in the west of the tenement, although it seems somewhat weak. Perhaps a Falcon gravity survey would provide greater resolution. Only time will tell.

EL 33399 Gravity Residual Source: Northern Territory Government STRIKE website.

Encounter seem to have their hands full with their exploration in WA. I just wanted to have a brief look at the ground they hold east into the NT and further across the Arunta orogen. At first glance, EL33399 seems geologically interesting.

I came across the following map by Trek Metals. It shows a tenement ELA 33191 that they’ve done a deal on with Gempart. The map helps us to understand the NT tenements geographic location relative to Luni.

West Arunta Critical Minerals Province, showing the location of the Trek acquisition tenement ELA 33191 (the McEwen Hills Project) in blue, along strike from WA1’s Luni & P2 carbonatite discoveries, with WA1 tenure in red, over magnetic imagery highlighting the magnetic trend of the province. Source: Trek Metals 4 October 2023 ASX announcement.

You can see Trek’s EL33191 in the map below. I’ve highlighted it in orange. Notice its location relative to Encounter’s NT tenements to the north.

Trek Metals’ EL 33191 Source: Northern Territory Government STRIKE website.

Ground in this area of the NT, I believe, is covered by the Lake Mackay Aboriginal Land Trust (see image below).

Northern Territory Government STRIKE website.

In a recent ASX news released dated 25 June 2024, Trek Metals noted “The tenement application area is located within freehold aboriginal lands of the Lake MacKay Aboriginal Land Trust and is administered by the Central Land Council. In May 2024, Trek attended an on-country meeting with the Traditional Owners of the land underlaying ELA33191 which is an important step in the process of negotiations and securing land access.”

Encounter Resources, WA1 Resources and others with tenements in this region of the NT will likely be working on similar agreements to enable them to explore. If agreements can be reached, it’ll be fascinating to watch the exploration migrate east into the Arunta Orogen.

If you have any comments on the desktop geophysics offered by STRIKE on the Northern Territory Government’s website then please do let me know in the comments section below.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Ross Harvey

    Roger , Thank you for your fantastic work, as a holder of ENR from a few years I didnt fully appreciate what they have here until now.

    It appears that they have years of work ahead of them with this most exciting prospects.

    I would appreciate any additional postings of your work if available as I know that this is just the start.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Ross,

      Many thanks for your kind comment. It’s much appreciated!

      And well done on being a long term holder of ENR.

      I’m interested in their Aileron project but was just keen to have a look at Aurora.

      This whole area is going to get a lot more interest and I want to try and understand the ground on the NT side of the state border. It’s a side story for now but interesting non the less.

      The recent news release from ENR on Aileron was excellent. I can’t wait to see the assays for the Green target!

      Best wishes,

      Roger

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