Latin Resources Limited (ASX:LRS) (FRA:XL5) will begin maiden aircore drilling early next month at its Noombenberry Halloysite-Kaolin Project near Merredin in Western Australia.
The drilling is designed to outline the extent of a known sub-outcrop occurrence of high-quality kaolinitic clays and halloysite, identified in previous sampling.
Depending on the success of this reconnaissance work, Latin Resources can then make assessments around a larger drilling program.
“Significant impact on future project economics”
Latin Resources executive director Chris Gale said: “We are all very excited to have secured an appropriate drilling contractor and to be getting our maiden aircore drilling campaign underway at Noombenberry, where we will be testing the extent of our known high-quality kaolinite-halloysite occurrence.
“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.”
Shallow aircore drilling
The company will complete an estimated 2,500 metres of shallow aircore drilling to confirm the extents of a known kaolinite-halloysite occurrence.
The initial phase of drilling will be completed utilising existing farm and fence-line tracks, with a second phase of infill drilling planned for early in 2021.
Based on observations in the field, drilling will consist of two east-west lines with holes at 500-metre intervals for a total of 10 holes.
This should provide a very broad indication of continuity as well as allow the collection of samples throughout the mineralised thickness for deposit analysis and indication of tenor.
Holes would be drilled vertically and expected to be between 20 metres and 50 metres deep, amounting to between 300 metres and 500 metres of drilling in total.
Latin Resources has additional capacity within the existing approvals to extend the drilling campaign as required.
Composite samples will be sent to laboratories in Perth and Adelaide where they will undergo detailed test work including brightness testing, definitive clay mineral species quantification via a combination of X-Ray Diffraction and spectral scanning, along with other elemental analysis via X-Ray Florence.
Larger drilling program
The strategy with the initial drilling and assaying is to ascertain the quality of kaolin and more importantly how much of the value product of halloysite is contained within the kaolinite.
Latin Resources can then make assessments around a larger drilling program on the success of this reconnaissance work.
LRS has lodged drill permits to carry out reconnaissance exploration drilling to ascertain deposit depth and material characteristics as phase 1, following a site visit to Noombenberry by technical geologists in July.
Globally scarce commodity
Noombenberry, which hosts both halloysite and kaolin, presents a particularly compelling opportunity for Latin Resources as halloysite is a globally scarce commodity, with strong demand drivers.
The global market for quality kaolin product is very established, kaolin being necessary for manufacture of paper, ceramics, porcelain, cement, paint and polymers.
Primary 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.
Gale previously noted: “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.”
Buoyed by Andromeda’s progress
Latin Resources is also buoyed by the progress of Andromeda Metals Ltd (ASX:ADN), 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.
Andromeda Metals shares last traded at 29 cents and that company has a market cap of approximately $604.1 million.
LRS shares last traded at 2.9 cents and the market cap is approximately $29.2 million.