Latin Resources Ltd (ASX:LRS) (FRA:XL5) has gained momentum toward commencing its maiden drilling program at the Noombenberry Halloysite Kaolin Project in WA, by signing land access agreements with key landholders.
The aim of the drilling, which will comprise 200-metre spaced, vertical, shallow (>50 metres) aircore drill holes, is to ascertain the extent and material characteristics of the halloysite mineralisation within the project area.
Latin managing director Chris Gale said: “We are extremely pleased to have the support of our key landholders for our Noombenberry Halloysite Kaolin Project here in Western Australia.
“We are gaining momentum toward the commencement of our maiden drilling campaign on the project, with our geological team working hard to secure suitable drilling contractors and making final preparations for the impending program, while we wait for the final regulatory approvals.”
Scarce commodity with strong demand drivers
Noombenberry, which hosts both halloysite and kaolin, presents a particularly compelling opportunity for Latin with halloysite being a globally scarce commodity with strong demand drivers.
The main markets for halloysite are ceramics, batteries, supercapacitors, the construction industry and the petroleum industry as a catalyst for fluid catalytic cracking.
There are also emerging markets developing such as nanotube technologies and cancer therapeutics.
Noombenberry Project location map.
Gale added: “High-grade Halloysite Kaolin producers globally are in decline and the product is finding more uses in both technology applications such as EV batteries, medical applications and as well as industrial storage of carbon and hydrogen and as a concrete additive.
“Hence we are fairly excited to be beginning exploration of this potentially significant project.”
Latin is also buoyed by the progress of Andromeda Metals Ltd (ASX:AND), which has seen an increase in market cap from $13 million when it first began exploring the Great White Kaolin Project in 2018, to around $250 million post the publication of a pre-feasibility study on the project outlining the economic model for a proposed mine.
Pending receipt of final Program of Work (POW) approvals from the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), Latin anticipates undertaking the maiden aircore exploration drilling in the current quarter.
High-grade sampling results
Analysis of surface samples collected as part of a reconnaissance mapping exercise in late 2019 has returned very encouraging results, with one site returning results of 38.9% kaolinite, 15% halloysite and 31.8% K-feldspar.
Surface samples collected from Noombenberry Project.
These surface sample grades provide encouragement for the potential for high-grade halloysite and kaolin at Noombenberry, which has a higher market value for broad industrial applications than the more commonly occurring kaolin without the presence of halloysite, which has a lower value market application for paper product manufacture.
The samples were reported after Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis by First Test Minerals identified halloysite occurrence within the kaolinite.
SEMs of <45-micron fractions showing halloysite tubes and kaolinite plates from Noombenberry surface samples.
In summary, the Noombenberry project has many similar qualities in scale and grade to Andromeda’s halloysite-kaolin projects in South Australia and the LRS drilling planned over the next month or so will confirm Noombenberry’s potential.