The Asia Miner

OCT-DEC 2018

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 4 34 AROUND THE REGION Asian ceramics demand and increasing premium prices for one of the key kaolin minerals will prove to be among the main future drivers for the development of a high-grade kaolin project on the west coast of South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. The Poochera Kaolin-Halloysite deposit near Streaky Bay is a joint venture between Minotaur Exploraঞon and Andromeda Metals. Minotaur Exploraঞon Execuঞve Director, Dr Tony Belperio, said other key factors included the potenঞal of the project to produce high purity alumina, and the halloysite component to act as a speciality strengthening addiঞve and as a natural nanotube – compeঞng against the more convenঞonal carbon- based nanotube R&D projects and uses worldwide. Andromeda has commied to spend AU$6 million over the next five years to earn a 75 per cent stake in Poochera – which already has a measured resource of very high quality and bright kaolin. The commodity is used widely used in ceramics and new baery technologies – with Minotaur commied to assisঞng Andromeda over the coming months in helping get a feasibility study up and running into Poochera's potenঞal. "Recent markeঞng by Andromeda has confirmed increasing demand in China for Poochera's halloysite kaolin," Dr Belperio said. "In addiঞon, a high halloysite product is currently commanding a significant price premium over convenঞonal kaolin. "Selecঞve mining at Poochera offers the opportunity to service different market segments including those for a high halloysite product (50 per cent halloysite and 50 per cent kaolinite). "This demand is coming from the premium porcelain, ceramic, catalyঞc converter and strengthening filler applicaঞons in the polymer, board, mortar and cement market segments." On the project's high purity alumina potenঞal, Dr Belperio said smelter grade alumina was currently fetching around $400 per tonne with high purity alumina (HPA) pushing that to $6,000/tonne. Super high purity HPA is aracঞng an even much higher response, ranging between $23,000 and $50,000 per tonne. "The new era baery market is fuelling this HPA demand," Dr Belperio said. He also pointed to emerging market demand for halloysite nanotubes as a replacement for carbon nanotubes in a range of current commercial and future energy related applicaঞons. Considerable research work into those opportuniঞes is being undertaken through AusIndustry, UniSA's Future Industries Insঞtute and the University of Newcastle's Global Innovaঞve Centre. "Among their areas of R&D interest is the use of Poochera halloysite in nanoporous materials, absorbents, electrocatalysts, energy storage, clean fuel generaঞon and water treatment," Dr Belperio said. Resource definion air core drilling at Carey's Well Poochera kaolin deposits Asian buyers circle as R&D effort lifts to maximise global market for high-grade kaolin

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