Latin Resources has hit the ground with the drill rods spinning as part of a maiden aircore drilling campaign at its Noombenberry halloysite-kaolin project in WA’s Wheatbelt to target known occurrences of sub-cropping, high-quality kaolinitic clays and halloysite. Previous sampling returned grades of 38.9 per cent kaolinite and 15 per cent halloysite, by weight in the 45-180micron size fraction.
The Noombenberry project, comprising two exploration leases covering over 115 square kilometres, is located just 50km east of Merredin and around 300km east of Perth.
The project area is noted for hosting kaolinitic clays and high-grade halloysite in the near-surface clays and kaolinized, or weathered granite rocks, along a known strike length of around 15kms.
Not surprisingly, Latin’s early reconnaissance prospecting followed up on bright white kaolinite dam walls that were seen around 15km to the northeast of Latin’s ground.
The company is planning to dig up around 2,500-3,000m clay and dirt from more than 50 shallow aircore holes set in a 400x400m grid, with a second phase of drilling infilling to a nominal 200x200m spacing across the thickest areas.
Samples retrieved will be shipped to Perth and tested for brightness and quantitative clay mineral species analysis using X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence methods.
We are all very excited to have our maiden air-core drilling campaign underway at Noombenberry, where we are testing the extent of our known high-quality kaolinite-halloysite occurrence. Drilling is progressing very well, with geological logging identifying good intersections of white kaolinitic clays in the early drilling. We will continue to drill right up to the 20th of December, infilling our drill pattern where we see good kaolin intersections in the logging.
Halloysite has traditionally been used as a key feedstock for bone and fine china due to its pure white colour and translucency. More recently the mineral’s tubular morphology, combined with a low concentration of iron and titanium, make the mineral an important commodity for a growing range of 21st-century technologies including batteries and capacitors.
Curiously, halloysite has recently found use in emerging medical products including nanotube technologies and cancer therapeutics, adding to its contemporary allure.
Latin says that scarce supply has resulted in a significant price rise for both kaolin and halloysite products, with commercial-grade kaolin recently selling at around US$600 per tonne.
More importantly, high-grade halloysite is currently fetching a premium price at US$4,000 a tonne, up from around US$3,000 a tonne just one year ago.
We are fully funded to advance the Noombenberry Project at a time where there is strong and broad global demand for high-quality kaolin products. The Noombenberry Project has the added benefit of sub-cropping high-quality material, which will have a significant positive impact on any future project economics, should we define sufficient material to support development.
Latin now looks to be settling into a front-row seat in the kaolin-halloysite sector with its WA project close to key infrastructure such as the Port of Fremantle. The company’s maiden resource for the Noombenberry project, due to hit the street in early 2021, may yet prove transformational for the diversified explorer.
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