ASX-listed Latin Resources has delivered a maiden 207 million tonne inferred kaolin-halloysite resource at the Noombenberry project near Merredin in WA. The newly named Cloud Nine deposit resource includes an eye-catching 123Mt of bright white kaolin bearing material and 84Mt of kaolin-halloysite material.
The company is now on a development path with a pre-feasibility study the next key milestone.
Delivery of the maiden resource estimate for Cloud Nine is a major landmark for Latin, which acquired the 560 sq. km Noombenberry tenure in 2019. It completed the first drill holes at the project late last year and has since been returning stellar kaolin and halloysite intercepts, with grades going as high as 41 per cent halloysite and multiple intersections over 20 per cent halloysite reported.
Latin now appears well placed to fast-track development of a project it believes could be the single-largest undeveloped kaolin-halloysite deposit in Australia.
Cloud Nine boasts near surface mineralisation hidden below a thin veneer of soil and sand, auguring well for low-strip mining to extract a bounty of industrial-grade clays typically exhibiting more than 70 ISO-B brightness.
The global inferred resource of 207Mt of kaolinised granite at Cloud Nine has two separate domains, with 123Mt of bright white kaolin-bearing material in one domain going 79 ISO-B and 84Mt of kaolin-halloysite-bearing material with an ISO-B of 80 in the other.
Latin reports a total of 73Mt of bright white kaolin product with an ISO-B of 79 at a cut-off grade above 75 ISO-B, or 29Mt of ultra-bright white kaolin product with an ISO-B of 82 at a cut-off grade above 80 ISO-B. Both estimates are considered by the company to be high-quality product specifications that may be suitable for a range of industrial applications.
Meanwhile, the halloysite domain contains a reported 50Mt going 6 per cent halloysite using a 1 per cent halloysite cut-off grade, or 35Mt at 6 per cent halloysite using a plus-75 ISO-B cut-off.
Latin Resources Exploration Manager, Tony Greenaway said:
“We are thrilled to have identified this globally significant kaolin-halloysite resource within only 18 months since acquiring the Noombenberry project. It really puts us on the map in this emerging sector and provides a remarkable opportunity to potentially push Latin from explorer to producer within a brief period. We look forward to commencing the next round of drilling in July, which will have a dual focus of both uplifting the current resources to indicated or measured status, and resource growth.”
Latin says Cloud Nine mineralisation is open in all directions. Initial reconnaissance sampling to the northeast of Cloud Nine has identified occurrences of ultra-bight white kaolin and high-grade halloysite going over 25 per cent halloysite at one site and 84 ISO-B kaolin at another.
Our exploration team have excelled in defining a world-class deposit despite the challenges of a difficult COVID environment. This massive result adds enormous value to LRS and will elevate the company to a new level. We will now look to fast track the deposit through to development as quickly as possible to take advantage of the buoyant mineral prices.
The maiden resource at Cloud Nine has propelled Latin to the front of Australia’s exclusive halloysite-kaolin club.
Its current market value of circa-A$101 million compares with that of ASX-listed Andromeda Resources, which has outlined halloysite-kaolin resources of more than 100Mt at 75 per cent-owned Great White in South Australia and has seen its market capitalisation surge above $400 million.
Halloysite, used in a range of modern applications such as batteries, capacitors, nanotube technologies and cancer therapeutics, is fetching up to US$3,000 per tonne. Halloysite is also emerging as an input in production of high purity alumina.
Cloud Nine is near major road and rail infrastructure and an upcoming pre-feasibility study will evaluate supply of final products to a variety of traditional end-users of kaolin and halloysite.
Downstream marketing of the high-grade halloysite to emerging industries such as carbon-capture and hydrogen storage markets will also be considered.
Kaolinite is a key component in the manufacture of fine china and high-quality paper due to its pure, bright white colour. It is also used in a variety of other everyday products including toothpaste, light bulbs, cosmetics, paints and soaps.
Latin remains well funded to advance planned work at Noombenberry with $4m in the bank at the end of the March quarter this year.
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