Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) reports has found ‘strong’ lithium exploration targets at the Sandover Copper Project, located within the Northern Arunta lithium province in the Northern Territory.
The company completed a technical assessment of the lithium potential at the project which has resulted in the definition of 2 large projects, Junction and Sitch that contains 3 priority targets for Encounter to follow up.
The first target is Crawford, located north of Junction and is defined by the intersection of two lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) controlling structures, the Barrow Creek and Neutral Junction Fault Zones.
Encounter reports there is very little outcrop mapped in the target area, but what is mapped is indicated to be a mixture of granite and pegmatite.
The Crawford target also appears to be a residual area, amenable to surface mapping and lies 5km north of the most lithium-rich occurrence sampled by the Northern Territory Geological Survey (NTGS) in 2005.
Within the southern area of Junction is the second target Nelson, and it is defined by the intersection of the major west-northwest structure which bounds the northern side of the Neoproterozoic Sandover basin depocentre with 2 northeast trending structures that control the Western and Eastern groups of pegmatites within the Barrow Creek District.
Encounter reports the area is predominantly covered by quaternary soil, however radiometric signatures indicate the presence of fractionated granite and the target is likely to be amenable to surface geochemical exploration to identify LCT pegmatites.
The Utopia target located in the northern part of Sitch, is defined by the intersection of the major west-northwest structure that bounds the northern side of the Neoproterozoic Sandover Basin depocentre, with the northwest trending Neutral Junction Fault.
Encounter says this area hosts the Utopia cluster of pegmatites which are known to be low in lithium, although the company interprets that this may be due to their close proximity to source granites.
The primary target area at Utopia is located north-west of the outcropping pegmatites under cover, and the area is also predominantly covered by quaternary soil and is likely to be amenable to surface geochemical exploration.
Encounter considers all 3 targets represent residual terranes that are potentially amenable for surface geochemical sampling, and Crawford has been selected as the first target for follow-up exploration.
“Prior outcrop sampling completed by the NTGS identified some of the most lithium rich occurrences in the North Arunta Pegmatite Province”
Encounter Managing Director Will Robinson said a technical review at Sandover has highlighted several areas with ‘strong’ lithium potential.
“Prior outcrop sampling completed by the NTGS identified some of the most lithium rich occurrences in the North Arunta Pegmatite Province are located adjacent to the interpreted structure that extends into the Crawford target,
“Promisingly, the most lithium-rich occurrence identified by the NTGS in the province, Tabby Cat, is located 5km to the south of the Crawford target.
“Initial on ground assessment will commence shortly and will include sampling of outcrops and a trial of surface geochemistry at Crawford.”.
The Sandover Project sits within the Northern Arunta Pegmatite Province first identified in a report by the NTGS in 2005.
The NTGS interpreted that the pegmatites in the region are LCT pegmatites similar to the host pegmatites of the lithium deposits at Greenbushes in Western Australia and the Finnis deposit in the Pine Creek pegmatite province in the Northern Territory.
The region’s lithium potential was also highlighted by rock chip sampling of the Anningie Tin Field (located 30km west of Sandover) completed in 2017 which returned 15 rock chips samples above 1% Li2O including a maximum lithium grade of 4.63% Li2O.
NTGS also reported the presence of LCT pegmatites is further supported at Sandover by two tin-tantalum occurrences in the south-east of the project area.
Encounter says the next steps for the project include a NTGS co-funded 1km spaced gravity survey currently in progress and aiming to refine the structural architecture at Sandover including the location of LCT prospective structures.
It will then start an on ground assessment of the Crawford target in October and November, which will include sampling mapped outcrops and a trial of surface geochemical methods.
After that, Encounter will conduct a systematic 200m by 50m soil geochemical sampling of prospective corridors, and an analysis for lithium, caesium, tantalum, tin, beryllium, tungsten and rubidium.
High resolution aerial photography of prospective corridors will then be taken, looking for evidence of sub-cropping pegmatites in areas mapped as generally non-outcropping, as well as following up rock chip sampling of identified occurrences.
Finally, Encounter will conduct a reverse circulation (RC) drill test on the defined anomalous areas.
Encounter Resources is an Australian mineral exploration company focused on discovering major copper dominant deposits in Australia.
Its wholly owned projects include the Sandover Copper-Lithium Project in the Northern Territory, and the Aileron Copper-Rare Earths Project and Lamil Copper Project in Western Australia.
Encounter also has three farm-in agreements including the Mt Elliot Copper Project with BHP and the Jessica and Carrara Projects with South32 in the Northern Territory, as well as the Yeneena Project with IGO in Western Australia.