Altech Chemicals will update the resource estimate at its promising Kerrigan kaolin project near Hyden in the WA Wheatbelt after successfully completing a drilling program. Whilst the Meckering kaolin deposit will provide feedstock for Altech’s soon-to-be-built HPA plant in Malaysia, Kerrigan also appears to host a high-purity kaolin deposit . Altech is partly financing its HPA plant with a loan that is guaranteed by the German Government.
ASX-listed Altech Chemicals, has successfully completed a drilling program at its promising Kerrigan Kaolin Project near Hyden in the West Australian Wheatbelt and will now look to update its kaolin mineral resource in that area.
The company said this week that the drilling program at Kerrigan , which is located just 20km south of Hyden, consisted of 27 aircore holes for a total of 765 metres. It said all holes were drilled vertically at an average hole depth of 28 metres and samples were collected at one-metre intervals.
According to management, the completed drilling program at the Kerrigan project is expected to enable the company to update its mineral resource estimate and will assist in determining the next steps for the project.
Altech plans to mine kaolin clays at its wholly-owned flagship Meckering kaolin deposit before shipping it to its soon to be built processing facility within the Tanjung Langsat industrial complex near Johor Bahru in southern Malaysia.
It has previously said it is looking to produce up to 4,500 tonnes a year of high-purity alumina sourced from pure kaolin clays mined from an open pit operation near Meckering which will provide a much needed shot in the arm for the Wheatbelt region where most jobs are farming based.
Whilst the Meckering kaolin deposit will provide feedstock for the Johor HPA plant, Kerrigan also hosts a high-quality kaolin deposit comprised of kaolin and mottled clays with overburden thickness ranges of 1 to 12 metres.
Interestingly, the Kerrigan project is proximal to the Hyden to Lake Grace railway line which connects to the port city of Albany.
The project was initially identified as containing high-quality material in 1992 by Graphite Holdings Pty Ltd which subsequently drilled the project area, as did CRA Exploration Pty Ltd later on.
Since that time, the only significant exploration conducted at Kerrigan was the bulk sample and evaluation of around 6 tonnes of kaolin and the processing of samples from the pits
In 2011, the company reported an initial JORC inferred kaolin mineral resource of 85 million tonnes at an ISO brightness of 85.1% at Kerrigan.
Kaolin clays are used to make high-purity alumina or HPA.
Demand for HPA has been rapidly growing given its use in LED lighting and in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries – two burgeoning market sectors given their environmental advantages.