Latin Resources has confirmed the presence of high-grade halloysite and ultra-bright-white kaolin at its Noombenberry project in WA, with its first-batch of samples returning grades of up to 79.2 per cent kaolinite and 28.9 per cent halloysite. Drill intercepts also show the mineral system to be laterally extensive, with the host kaolinitic unit averaging more than 13 metres in thickness from just below surface, representing an enticing target for future development.
The company’s ongoing test work also shows the kaolinitic ores contain both bright white and ultra-bright white clays, testing at over 75 ISO brightness, which can be used in the manufacture of premium paper and porcelain products.
Latin has now engaged a specialist consulting group to undertake the company’s maiden resource estimate and with the deposit already covering more than 18 square kilometres and averaging more than 13 metres in thickness, the aspiring halloysite miner is looking down the barrel of a potentially very large resource.
A cavalcade of labs are now working on the horde of samples generated from the company’s recent aircore drilling program, with the likes of Bureau Veritas, the CSIRO and the University of South Australia conducting a battery of tests on the kaolin-rich samples as Latin takes its first steps on the pathway to production.
We are extremely pleased with these initial results from test work from the Noombenberry project, which confirm the presence of very high grade halloysite contained within the bright-white kaolinitic clays.
While these results are from just a small portion of the drilling completed at Noombenberry, our logging suggests that we have intersected similar kaolinized granite across the 18km2 tested by the full program, and we are yet to have results back from the area where we have logged our thickest kaolin intersections which were up to 50m.
Having engaged our independent resource consultants, Latin’s team is now working on building the geological models for the Company’s maiden resource estimate.
Latin’s wholly owned Noombenberry project is situated 300km east of Perth in Western Australia and comprises two granted exploration leases to the east of Merredin which cover more than 115 square kilometres of kaolinized granitic stratigraphy.
The company’s recent aircore drilling tested an area more than 4 kilometres wide and 5km long, with exploration showing the white kaolinitic ores extend from just below surface to depths of more than 50m in some places. The exploration campaign has unearthed a bounty of kaolin and halloysite-rich clays within this weathered granite carapace, with the resource estimation and metallurgical test work now advancing at a furious pace.
Drilling to date indicates that the deposit remains open across its lateral extents, leaving the door open for future resource upgrades as exploration and development work continues across the evolving deposit.
Recent drilling has returned a host of outstanding intercepts including 17m at 15.0 per cent halloysite and 79.2 per cent kaolinite from 9m and 13m at 28.9 per cent halloysite and 46.4 per cent kaolinite from 32m down-hole.
Curiously, whilst kaolinite and halloysite are largely unknown amongst a bevy of better-known minerals such as copper, nickel, lithium and gold to name just a few, both minerals are extensively utilised in modern society.
Kaolinite and halloysite have traditionally been key components in the manufacture of bone and fine china due to their pure white colour and translucency. The two minerals are also used in a variety of other everyday products including toothpaste, light bulbs, cosmetics, paints and soaps.
Halloysite is used in a range of modern technologies due to the unusual properties of the mineral, namely its tubular molecular shape, combined with its low iron and titanium content. It is increasingly being utilised in the production of batteries and capacitors and also has found a place in construction where it is used to harden concrete products.
Adding to its allure, halloysite is also being utilised in a suite of emerging medical products including nanotube technologies and cancer therapeutics.
Whilst kaolinite and halloysite might not be on the radars of many, followers of ASX-listed Andromeda Metals are only too aware of the lucrative opportunities presented by both minerals.
The Adelaide-based company shot to prominence in early 2019 following the discovery of its Great White kaolin deposit near Poochera in South Australia.
The discovery and subsequent development work catapulted Andromeda’s share price from point six of a cent at the end of April 2019 to twenty nine cents today, an eye-watering rise in anybody’s language.
In fact, kaolinite and halloysite market followers have punted Andromeda’s market cap to well over $600m now on the back of its 35 million tonne kaolin resource in South Australia that also has halloysite credits.
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