Encounter Resources has regained full ownership of the Aileron project in Western Australia following the withdrawal of Newcrest Mining from the joint venture (JV).

Aileron is an iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) style copper-gold-rare earths project located in the West Arunta region.

The rare earths project does not have any previous mineral exploration.

A 158m deep diamond drill hole called EAL001 was completed by Newcrest Mining into an unexplored belt having prospects for large scale gold-copper deposits.

Encounter Resources Aileron managing director Will Robinson said: “The first drill hole into a remote and unexplored 70km long belt, intersected zones of intense hydrothermal hematite alteration with a distinctive IOCG signature in a suite of elements including copper, gold, molybdenum and highly elevated rare earth elements.

“This hole has demonstrated the potential for near surface IOCG deposits in the West Arunta region under shallow cover.

“We are pleased to be back in control of Aileron and will immediately commence discussions with potential partners focused on the discovery of IOCG style copper-gold deposits, with enriched rare earth elements, in Western Australia.”

Going forward, Encounter Resources plans to complete petrography for the Aileron project to determine the copper mineral species.

Besides, the company will evaluate applicable ground and airborne gravity methods, and also assess the amenability of surface geochemical sampling.

The Australian mineral exploration company plans to launch preparations for field activities later this year.

Meanwhile, Newcrest Mining said that its board has approved the CAD135m ($105.9m) funding pertaining to the Red Chris copper-gold mine in Canada.

The company also said that it had received all the required regulatory approvals for the Red Chris mine, following which, it has started construction of the box cut for the exploration decline.