18/02/2021 - 09:19

Oar Resources uncovers high-value SA halloysite

18/02/2021 - 09:19


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First-pass drilling at Oar Resources’ Gibraltar project in SA has delivered a potential treasure trove of mineralisation, with sampling revealing intercepts of both high-value halloysite and kaolinite. Some stand-out results for the flourishing project area include 3 metres at 19.6 per cent halloysite with 42.4 per cent kaolinite from 26m and an equally impressive 13m at 5.3 per cent halloysite with 80.9 per cent kaolinite.

Oar Resources uncovers high-value SA halloysite
Halloysite tubes under an electron microscope. Credit: File

First-pass drilling at Oar Resources' Gibraltar project in South Australia has delivered a potential treasure trove of mineralisation, with sampling revealing intercepts of high-value halloysite and kaolinite. Some standout results from the budding project area include 3 metres at 19.6 per cent halloysite with 42.4 per cent kaolinite from 26m and an impressive 13m at 5.3 per cent halloysite with 80.9 per cent kaolinite from only 13m down-hole.

The company’s drilling program seems to have confirmed the presence of kaolinitic mineralisation across the target area at Gibraltar, with 24 of the 59 holes drilled also intersecting high-grade halloysite. Oar’s evaluation of the drilling program also shows the mineralisation extending laterally and remaining open in all directions.

Unsurprisingly, Oar has already designed an extensional drilling program as it works towards declaring a  maiden resource later this year.

Oar Resources General Manager of Exploration, Tony Greenaway said:“These results from the maiden air core drilling program at our Gibraltar Project are extremely pleasing, having confirmed the presence of the high-value halloysite mineral within the kaolinitic saprolite.”

“Our test work results are showing multiple pods within the kaolinite where halloysite is present. Our highest-grade result of 20% halloysite occurred in the last hole of a line of drilling, with no drilling to the west or south, leaving this high-grade pod completely open in those directions.”

“We will now look to extend out drilling to the north, south east and west with over the coming months. This new drilling campaign will be fast tracked to allow OAR to move into resource definition as quickly as possible”

The company’s Gibraltar halloysite-kaolinite project is located on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, approximately 75 kilometres north of Coffin Bay. The company’s tenure in the region covers over 1,500 square kilometres and lies immediately north of high-profile halloysite developer, Andromeda Metals, Mt Hope project.

Analysis of the samples from Gibraltar shows the presence of high-grade halloysite in the last holes on several drill lines, indicating that the deposit may increase in grade and width to both the south and west of the existing drill pattern. Scout drilling 2km south of the main prospect has also begun to define a new target for systematic drill testing.

The company has received approval from the SA Department of Energy and Mining to extend the drilling pattern to the north of the main Gibraltar prospect area with the second phase of drilling set to kick off in March 2021.

Sampling from the recent drilling program is currently being analysed by CSIRO, with the sub-45-micron fraction of the samples showing quality kaolinite and its rarer, higher-value, halloysite derivative. Oar says it will focus its ongoing exploration on the delineation of the halloysite-rich ores due to its increasing use as a precursor for the production of high-purity alumina, or “HPA” which fetches up to US$30,000 a tonne for a 4N 99.99 per cent aluminium oxide product.

A perceived scarcity has resulted in significant price rises for both kaolin and halloysite in recent years, with commercial-grade kaolin currently selling at more than US$600 per tonne. High-grade halloysite has risen above US$4,000 a tonne in recent months, up from US$3,000 a tonne in 2019, providing a significant incentive for accelerating the company’s exploration program.

Traditionally halloysite has many uses, most commonly as a key component in the manufacture of bone and fine china due to its pure white colour and translucency. However, the unusual properties of the mineral, namely its tubular molecular shape, coupled with low iron and titanium content makes it suitable for use in a growing range of technologies including batteries and capacitors.

Interestingly, halloysite is now being used in swag of emerging medical products including nanotube technologies and cancer therapeutics, adding to the allure of this specialty mineral.

With Oar Resources exploration delivering high-grade kaolinite and halloysite from initial drill testing at Gibraltar and a second phase of exploration already in the works, the company is making steady progress in SA and appears to be on track  to emulating the success of Andromeda in the region and building its own inventory of the “bright white” minerals.


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


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