29/10/2020 - 13:59

Oakdale gets nod for maiden drilling at SA kaolin-halloysite project

29/10/2020 - 13:59

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ASX-listed explorer, Oakdale Resources, has received regulatory approvals for a maiden aircore drilling program at its Gibraltar halloysite-kaolin project on SA’s Eyre Peninsula. The company says a drilling contractor has been locked in and the drill rig and geological crew are expected to be on site early next month.

ASX-listed explorer, Oakdale Resources, has received regulatory approvals for a maiden aircore drilling program at its Gibraltar halloysite-kaolin project on SA’s Eyre Peninsula. The company says a drilling contractor has been locked in and the drill rig and geological crew are expected to be on site early next month.

The Perth-based company was recently awarded an exploration licence covering an area that saw previous drilling identify the presence of shallow kaolinitic clays and halloysite occurrence. It also lies about 16km north and along strike from Andromeda Metals’ Mount Hope halloysite-kaolin project.

Oakdale says it is looking to progress quickly to calculating an inferred resource estimate for the Gibraltar industrial clays project in the event results from its first drilling campaign come up trumps.

The company plans to undertake a total of 2,500m of aircore drilling that will be designed to test the extent of the known kaolin occurrence highlighted by historic auger drilling across the tenement.

An east-west traverse of shallow auger drilling completed by Monax Mining 13 years ago at Gibraltar revealed highly weathered granitic basement lithologies. Geological logs from multiple drill holes from that program pointed to moderate thicknesses of kaolin mineralisation close to surface, with both kaolinite and halloysite mineralisation picked up in spectral analysis of drill samples.

Halloysite has a wide variety of industrial uses beyond kaolin and commands a significant premium above the average kaolin price. According to Andromeda, the exhaustion of existing global reserves and the closure of environmentally damaging mines in China have left halloysite in short supply.

Its main applications are in the manufacture of high-quality porcelain by adding whiteness, transparency and strength to the final fired product, and as a petroleum cracking catalyst.

The natural high purity of halloysite-kaolin compared with standard kaolin makes it a very attractive premium-quality feed material for the production of high purity alumina, or “HPA”.

HPA offers the enviable trifecta of being high value, high margin and in demand due to it being a critical ingredient for the production of synthetic sapphire.

Synthetic sapphire in turn is used in the manufacture of substrates for LED lights, semiconductor wafers used in the electronics industry, and scratch-resistant sapphire glass for watch faces, optical windows and smartphone components.

HPA is also recognised as a key ingredient for lithium-ion batteries, with higher battery energy density driving demand for HPA use in battery separators.

Andromeda says new research on the use of halloysite nanotubes for a number of high-tech industries is leading to the development of new markets for the material. The nanotubes can be filled with many materials such as biocides, drugs, proteins and polyelectrolytes.

Oakdale’s share price has enjoyed a stellar run of late vaulting from 0.003 cents in early August to peaking above 0.03 cents last month following the company’s acquisition of its Crown PGE-nickel-copper project in WA.

Should the company squeeze out encouraging results from drilling at Gibraltar in SA, there may be more good news for investors in time for Christmas.

 

Is your ASX listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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