Everyone loves a bit of kaolin right now.

The aluminous clay can be used to create high purity alumina (HPA), which is in demand because it helps stop lithium-ion batteries from catching fire.

There’s a handful of HPA players on the ASX, but the most recent surge in popularity has been triggered by explorer Andromeda Metals (ASX:ADN) and its Poochera project in South Australia.

It has halloysite (a rare derivative of kaolin) which also has a wide variety of industrial uses in ceramics, petrochemical refining, as well as other developments in new tech.

The explorer is investigating a simple business model – starting with shipping raw ore from Poochera to HPA producers in China.

This would reduce initial start-up costs because it doesn’t need to build a processing plant to start making cash.

Andromeda now has new non-binding offtake letters of intent (LOI) from potential customers for 405,000tpa of direct shipping ore (DSO) halloysite‐kaolin product.

This is in addition to the 307,000tpa of LOIs signed by Chinese companies for 307,000tpa of dry‐processed mineral and 208,000tpa of wet processed mineral.

The Poochera project scoping study is due for completion by the end of September.

Andromeda is the kind of story small cap investors love. Its market cap has ballooned rapidly from $8m in March to ~$70m currently.


Over the past week or so Metalsearch (ASX:MSE) and Archer Exploration (ASX:AXE)  – who know a good thing when they see it — have announced forays into the space.

Metalsearch jumped 85.7 per cent when it announced the acquisition of the Abercorn high purity alumina (HPA) project in Queensland last week.

Today, graphite explorer/quantum computing chip developer Archer released a maiden exploration target for its Eyre Peninsula HPA project (EPHPA), about 115km from Andromeda’s project in South Australia.

The maiden kaolin exploration target of 55mt–130mt at a grade of 33–36 per cent aluminium oxide (Al2O3) was established using historic drilling, the company says.

“The project is ideally situated close to existing rail, power, gas and other significant infrastructure which will aide further exploration and possible project development,” Archer chairman Greg English says.

“The development of this potential HPA project is consistent with Archer’s strategy of pursuing opportunities in the reliable energy space.”

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