Oakdale Resources Ltd (ASX:OAR) (FRA:F1S) has registered the presence of kaolinite and halloysite minerals after completing an aircore drilling program at the Gibraltar project adjacent to Andromeda Metals Ltd (ASX:ADN) Mt Hope Kaolin-Halloysite Project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
While the in-field spectral analysis used to identify the target minerals is not definitive, the company is encouraged by the indications and is eager to receive laboratory results.
The company completed the 2,045 metres of shallow drilling in 59 holes targeting an area containing a historic kaolinite-halloysite occurrence before South Australia’s COVID-19 restrictions were implemented.
Sampling of the first half of the program is complete with composite samples on their way to the laboratory for definitive test-work.
Oakdale Resources executive chairman Chris Gale said, “We are very pleased that our drilling campaign has been completed prior to the implementation of state-wide travel bans in South Australia, and that we have our initial dispatch of samples at the laboratory.
“The team’s safety is paramount, and we are glad to have everyone back at home with their families.”
With the Gibraltar project being within Australia’s premier halloysite-kaolin region and adjacent to Andromeda’s projects which have been drawing global attention, Oakdale is optimistic it can mirror that company’s growth.
The high prospectivity and location provide strong value upside for Oakdale, particularly when compared to Andromeda.
Oakdale’s shares were 20% higher to 2.5 cents on Thursday while the market cap is approximately $40.5 million.
Andromeda's market cap has increased from $13 million when it began exploring the region’s kaolin potential in 2018, to more than $631.4 million as strong results continue while shares on Thursday hit a new 13-year high of 34.5 cents.
In Adelaide, the aircore samples will undergo detailed tests encompassing brightness testing at the University of South Australia; definitive clay mineral species quantification via a combination of X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) by the CSRIO; and spectral scanning, and other elemental analysis via X-Ray Florence (XRF) at the laboratory.
Gale said: “The samples sent to the lab thus far are from drilling that covers the historic halloysite occurrence.
“We have seen more consistent development of the basement clay layers which host the kaolinite and halloysite minerals in this area, and our in-field analyser has identified our target minerals in these clays.
“While this instrument is not definitive, we are very encouraged by these indications and are looking forward to receiving the laboratory results in the coming weeks.”
Portable analysis trialled
Portable in-field spectral analysis was trialled to enable the rapid identification of clay minerals including kaolinite and halloysite in the individual drill samples.
While this is not a definitive or quantitative test, the spectral analyser registered both kaolinite and halloysite minerals in the tested drill samples.
The Terraspec Halo NIR Analyser utilised by Oakdale for in-field clay mineral identification at the Gibraltar Project.
While results of test-work for the submitted samples are pending, logging of the drill cuttings has shown good thicknesses of weathered bedrock clay material along the northern drill traverses.
Drilling in the southern area showed progressively shallow depths to basement material (thinner clay development).
In addition, some drilling to the south intersected a number of buried channels cutting through the basement, with some holes failing to reach basement material.
Once travel restrictions in place in South Australia have been lifted, the company’s field crew will remobilise to the site to complete sample collection for the drilling completed in the southern project area and dispatch these to the laboratory for testing.
Pending receipt of results from the initial test work, a follow-up drilling program is proposed to extend the drill coverage to the north and west where initial indications show better development of the weathered basement clay target material.