Halloysite Discovery at Kerrigan Kaolin Deposit
The Kerrigan deposit is located 20kms south of the central wheat belt town of Hyden, Western Australia and sits within exploration licence E70/4718-I, which covers an area of approximately 480km2. The licence was granted in 2015 and is 100% owned by Altech.
Halloysite is a tubular form of the kaolin group of minerals where the mineral naturally occurs as nanotubes; microscopic tubes, the diameter of which is measured in nanometres (one millionth of a millimetre). The properties of halloysite nanotubes make halloysite products ideally suited to a diverse range of specialist applications, attracting a significant premium above the average kaolin price. Halloysite has long been prized in the manufacture of high-grade porcelain and ceramics improving strength and chip-resistance.
Halloysite has attracted research interest for the development of new products such as fibre reinforcement in polymers and as micro-containers for controlled delivery of active agents. More recently, halloysite has been promoted as a lower cost alternative to carbon nanotubes which have many high-tech applications such as hydrogen storage and carbon capture.
Initial x-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) investigations into the presence of halloysite in Altech's Kerrigan kaolin deposit are encouraging, One of the six samples examined demonstrated abundant tubular structures consistent with halloysite (Figures 2 and 3*). Three other samples examined demonstrated similar halloysite rod like structures and their tubular nature will be confirmed with further investigation.
The Company has embarked on further test work involving 31 samples which will aim to confirm and determine the significance of the initial results. The occurrence of halloysite within the Kerrigan kaolin deposit does not imply any economic benefit at this stage of test work. The Company remains committed and focussed on finalising finance for its high purity alumina (HPA) plant in Johor, Malaysia and advancing the preliminary feasibility study for construction of a battery materials high purity alumina coating plant in Saxony, Germany.
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About Altech Chemicals Ltd
Altech Chemicals Limited (ASX:ATC) (FRA:A3Y) is aiming to become one of the world's leading suppliers of 99.99% (4N) high purity alumina (Al2O3) through the construction and operation of a 4,500tpa high purity alumina (HPA) processing plant at Johor, Malaysia. Feedstock for the plant will be sourced from the Company's 100%-owned kaolin deposit at Meckering, Western Australia and shipped to Malaysia.
HPA is a high-value, high margin and highly demanded product as it is the critical ingredient required for the production of synthetic sapphire. Synthetic sapphire is used in the manufacture of substrates for LED lights, semiconductor wafers used in the electronics industry, and scratch-resistant sapphire glass used for wristwatch faces, optical windows and smartphone components. Increasingly HPA is used by lithium-ion battery manufacturers as the coating on the battery's separator, which improves performance, longevity and safety of the battery. With global HPA demand approximately 19,000t (2018), it is estimated that this demand will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% (2018-2028); by 2028 HPA market demand will be approximately 272,000t, driven by the increasing adoption of LEDs worldwide as well as the demand for HPA by lithium-ion battery manufacturers to serve the surging electric vehicle market.
Altech Chemicals Ltd