Australian Projects Select

Eyre Peninsula Kaolin Project

PepinNini completes acquisition and looks to the future of kaolin in Eyre Peninsula 

PepinNini Minerals (PepinNini) is pleased to announce that after successfully completing its acquisition of Hillside Minerals Ltd (Hillside), work is underway on two key projects in the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.   The company is well advanced in efforts to complete all statutory regulatory processes as  a precondition to negotiating land access with local landowners and traditional owners before the exploration licenses are granted.  Following completion of the acquisition of Hillside Minerals Pty Ltd the company was renamed PepinNini Kaolin Pty Ltd.  With PepinNini Kaolin came two exploration license applications—ELA 2020/210 and ELA 2020/175—which cover 1,129km² of land in the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Both ELAs are for terrain recording occurrences of kaolin clay, with both located directly adjacent to Andromeda Metal’s kaolin and halloysite projects.   PepinNini has expanded the project areas via a third, adjoining, ELA (ELA 2020/229). With all three ELAs combined, this has increased the total project area to 1,413km².  Due to changes in regulations of the Mining Act effective 1 January 2021, there have been slight delays in granting tenement applications in South Australia. However, PepinNini expects these exploration licenses to be granted by September 2021.  Ahead of the tenements being granted, PepinNini has undertaken preparatory activity including the completion of a community engagement plan project, field reconnaissance and sample collection, refinement of priority drill targets, and analysis of results from field samples. 

Community engagement in Eyre Peninsula 

PepinNini’s vision for the future is to discover and develop mineral deposits that not only provide benefit to shareholders, but to the local and regional communities in which it operates.   The Company recently met with community leaders and conducted a field reconnaissance trip for the Eyre Peninsula Kaolin Project.   During a visit to Port Lincoln on 24 June 2021, PepinNini Exploration Manager Suziany Rocha de Souza and Managing Director Rebecca Holland-Kennedy discussed a proposed PepinNini community engagement plan with Dion Dorward, CEO of Regional Development Australia Eyre Peninsula and Peter Scott, Executive Director for the Eyre Peninsula Local Government Authority.  At the time, Ms Holland-Kennedy said: “Establishing constructive partnerships with local communities is critical to successful exploration. As a prospective explorer in the region, we’re committed to opening a constructive dialogue with the Eyre Peninsula community,” said Ms. Holland-Kennedy.  “Our ELAs are pending, but it is not too early to start that work, and I was delighted to have had the opportunity to meet with Dion Dorwood and Peter Scott during my recent visit to establish the basis for future engagement.”  The plan, which will be implemented once applications for three ELAs are granted, includes dedicated communication channels for local community members. 

Promising sample results at Eyre Peninsula Kaolin Project 

Following initial drilling for the kaolin project in the Eyre Peninsula, PepinNini reported promising results from analysis of four samples. Three samples were taken during a preliminary field reconnaissance trip in May 2021, with the fourth sample being part of drill core stores at the South Australia Dept of Energy and Mines core library in Adelaide.   Analysis was carried out by Bureau Veritas Minerals using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and by CSIRO using X-Ray Diffraction mineral identification (XRD). Through this analysis, kaolinite was reported in three samples, with preliminary identification of halloysite by XRD in one of these samples to be confirmed via a scanning electron microscope at Adelaide University.  Samples 1 and 2 both confirmed the presence of a blanket of fine carbonate soil and calcrete which obscures the underlying geology over much of this ELA.   Sample 3—taken from Coulta quarry—is promising, showing the presence of kaolin in a surface sample. Drilling will be required to provide an indication of the quality of the kaolin present in this deposit. Sample 4 is very encouraging, showing the presence of kaolinite as well as probable halloysite in paleochannel sediments. This area will be a priority for subsequent drilling.  The successful reconnaissance trip and preliminary sampling were carried out by PepinNini Exploration Manager Suziany Rocha de Souza and consultant industrial minerals expert Sue Border. This trip was part of work to prepare for exploration activities to commence as soon as exploration licenses are granted.   With the presence of kaolin confirmed, systematic reconnaissance drilling would be the next step for the company. 

Kaolin’s potential for widespread applications 

Kaolin, and it’s derivative halloysite, have proven to be useful in many everyday applications but are consistently overlooked alongside higher-profile minerals such as lithium and gold. However, the use cases for kaolin highlight how indispensable the mineral is.  From paper, rubber, paint, ceramics, and fiberglass to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, kaolin is being used in a broad range of manufactured products used in everyday life—and demand is increasing. So much so, that Grand View Research, Inc. forecasts the kaolin market to be worth $8.65 billion AUD by 2027, expanding at a CAGR of 3.5% from 2020 to 2027.  Rising popularity of high-grade kaolin within the cosmetic industry is contributing to the growth of the market, with experts stating the absorbent properties exhibited by kaolin have proven to be a key factor in its widespread adoption by the industry.   Despite the current economic downturn, future opportunities for the market look lucrative with strong demand coming its use in ceramic applications for interior design.  The conversion of kaolin into high-purity alumina has also proven to be valuable to a variety of technological applications, including coating porous polymer separators which are key to improving the safety and thermal performance of lithium-ion batteries.  Kaolin’s rare derivative, halloysite, is also being used in health care, agricultural, and construction products. Halloysite has proven to be a particularly effective inert replacement for expensive carbon nanotubes that are fundamental to hydrogen storage, renewable energy, water purification, carbon capture, and soil remediation.   PepinNini looks forward to delivering the benefits to shareholders and local communities arising from its discovery and production of this critical mineral to Australia’s essential industries.

 

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