Encounter Resources strikes high-grade niobium at Crean and Emily targets

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Encounter Resources ASX ENR Cream Emily West Arunta Niobium

Encounter Resources (ASX: ENR) has reported new high-grade niobium intercepts from drilling at the Crean and Emily targets within its Aileron project in Western Australia.

The mineralisation at Crean is believed to be strongest in the two western sections and remains open to the west.

Crean program

In the first phase of the 2024 aircore drill program at Crean, the company hit continuous near-surface carbonatite across four drill lines to the west of previous exploration that returned shallow results such as 52 metres at 3% niobium pentoxide and 1.7% TREO (total rare earth oxides) from 81m, including 16m at 6% and 32m at 2.5% niobium pentoxide and 1.8% TREO from 67m, including 12m at 3.3%.

The latest Crean results include new high-grade intercepts such as 46m at 3.1% niobium pentoxide and 1.2% TREO from 60m, including 4m at 6.4% and 18m at 3.2% niobium pentoxide and 1.4% TREO from 76m, including 2m at 17%.

Emily results

At the Emily target, 15 widely spaced reverse circulation holes were completed in October, ten of which intersected carbonatite.

The hits were reported to be variably anomalous in niobium and rare earths with shallow, high-grade mineralisation intersected in two adjacent holes located 400m apart.

Results from the recent follow-up drilling included 16m at 2.7% niobium pentoxide and 1.0% TREO from 50m and 20m at 2.7% niobium pentoxide and 0.8% TREO from 41m.

Additional aircore drilling will be completed at Emily in the coming months to establish the strike extent of mineralisation.

Shallow belts

Encounter executive chair Will Robinson said drilling had defined new belts of shallow mineralisation in the state’s West Arunta region.

“Highly enriched, near-surface mineralisation has now been intersected at the Crean and Emily targets […] located on separate structures at Aileron, over 10km apart,” he said.

“Our aircore rig is currently completing further drill sections at the western end of the targets and will then return for more exploration at Emily and Green.”

Joyce drilling planned

Mr Robinson said initial broad-spaced drilling would also be carried out at the nearby untested Joyce target, to the east of WA1 Resources’ (ASX: WA1) Luni carbonatite discovery.

Earlier this month, WA1 released a mineral resource estimate for the deposit of 200 million tonnes grading 1% niobium pentoxide, with a significant high-grade subset of 53Mt at 2.1%.

Luni is believed to be WA’s most significant niobium discovery in more than 70 years and one of the world’s major critical minerals deposits.