ASX-listed explorer Latin Resources has resumed aircore drilling at its Noombenberry kaolin-halloysite project in WA after last month unveiling a maiden inferred mineral resource estimate for the project’s Cloud Nine deposit. The current resource numbers for Cloud Nine stand at 207 million tonnes of kaolinised granite including 123Mt of bright white kaolin-bearing material and 84Mt of kaolin-halloysite material.
Latin hopes the new round of drilling will culminate in both an extension in mineralisation to the north and an upgrade in the resource.
The Perth-based company says the proposed 3,700m of drilling on a 400m-by-400m grid pattern will dovetail into previous drilling at Noombenberry, about 60km east-south-east of Merredin, and be aimed at delineating kaolinised granitic material for up to a further 4.5km north of the existing Cloud Nine deposit.
The drilling is slated to cover an area roughly equivalent in size to the “globally significant” near-surface Cloud Nine deposit.
After the extension testing phase Latin will turn its attention to selective infill drilling within the existing resource targeting known high-grade halloysite zones and ultra-bright while kaolin zones.
Earlier drilling encountered high-grade halloysite, including an intersection grading up to 41 per cent in one hole and several hits above 20 per cent halloysite.
The $72 million market-cap company suggests there is the potential for kaolin-halloysite material to extend both north and south of Cloud Nine for up to 100km covered by its 560-square-kilometre tenement package.
With the drilling rig back out on site we are looking forward to the potential of significantly expanding our Cloud Nine halloysite-kaolin deposit. We are testing a new area that is equal in size to the footprint of the existing Cloud Nine resource, so there is significant potential for resource growth.
We will also be completing some infill drilling within the existing inferred resource, with the aim of better defining some of the known high-grade zones and increasing our confidence levels to enable an upgrade to indicated or measured status.
In tandem with its latest drilling campaign, which is due to be completed next month, Latin intends kicking off technical studies on Noombenberry.
Results will be plugged into an eventual pre-feasibility study.
The company says the PFS will weigh up a cast of traditional end-users of kaolin-halloysite, as well as investigating the potential for downstream marketing of high-grade halloysite in emerging application fields including carbon-capture and hydrogen storage markets.
The kaolin market is dominated by demand from the paper and ceramic industry, which favours high-brightness kaolin products.
Although Latin points out metallurgical testing is required to fully understand the specifications of the kaolin present at Cloud Nine, it reckons kaolin from the deposit is likely to be amenable to these applications – in particular for premium-grade ceramics.
The halloysite market is also driven by demand from the high-grade ceramic industry, the petroleum industry for its use as a petrochemical cracking catalyst and cosmetics industry.
According to the company, the market for high-purity halloysite may expand in the manufacture of synthetic sapphires and lithium-ion battery products.
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