BHP backs Encounter’s NT copper hunt

The Barkly Tablelands, Northern Territory. Image: Geoscience Australia.

Junior explorer Encounter Resources has received endorsement for its Elliott copper project in the Northern Territory from mining giant BHP, with the two companies forming a joint venture (JV).

Under the JV, BHP may earn up to 75 per cent interest in the project by funding $22 million over 10 years.

The Elliott project was identified by Encounter analysing datasets generated by Geoscience Australia as part of the Australian Government’s Exploring for the Future program.

It is located at a major structural intersection south-west of the Beetaloo Basin, hosting key criteria for the formation of sedimentary copper.

Encounter managing director Will Robinson said he was pleased to be teaming up with a company of BHP’s expertise to progress the Elliott project.

“We are delighted to be teaming up with BHP in the search for tier 1 copper deposits at Elliott,” Robinson said.

“We look forward to working alongside the highly respected BHP exploration team to validate this compelling opportunity.

“New data has shone a light on the potential for copper to be found under shallow cover in the Northern Territory. Encounter moved early and aggressively to secure first mover opportunities in this new frontier.”

BHP and Encounter plan to complete a compilation, interpretation and modelling program of the Elliott data packages this year.

Following the completion of this program, BHP may elect to fund additional programs throughout 2021 and decide whether to enter the joint venture agreement.

Encounter also owns 100 per cent of five other copper projects in the Northern Territory: the Jessica, Carrara, Playford and Sandover projects, covering 10,300 square kilometres of land surrounded by other projects including the Tennant Creek copper-gold mine and Century zinc mine in Queensland.

The Beetaloo Basin is also part of the Greater McArthur super basin, which hosts the giant McArthur River base metal deposit.

The basin contains thick petroleum bearing reduced sediments that are an ideal structural setting for major sediment hosted base metal deposits.

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