Metalsearch (ASX:MSE) has struck a cash and scrip deal to acquire Abercorn Kaolin, which owns the Abercorn high purity alumina (HPA) project in Queensland.

The news excited investors, which sent shares up as much as 85.7 per cent to an intra-day high of 1.3c on Tuesday morning.

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HPA’s fastest growing market is in lithium-ion batteries, with it now being used as a coating on the separators in lithium-ion batteries in the electric vehicle industry.

And this is Metalsearch’s first foray into the HPA space. Right now its portfolio is made up of gold and base metals projects.

The acquisition price is $350,000 cash and $1.4m worth of Metalsearch shares, plus two milestone share issues.

Prior drilling at the Abercorn project intersected kaolinite, the source of high quality HPA feedstock.

Metalsearch said the Cynthia kaolin prospect in particular offered the capacity to produce HPA and marketable volumes of higher-grade feedstock. It could potentially even be a direct shipping ore (DSO) operation given it is close to two existing ports.

DSO refers to minerals that require only simple crushing before they are exported, which keeps costs low.

“All 24 holes intersected kaolinite and the kaolin mineralisation remains open in all directions, indicating the potential ore body is of a very large, high-grade nature,” the company said.

HPA grading 99.99 per cent aluminium oxide (4N HPA) has already been produced from the Cynthia prospect.

Commercial grade aluminium sulphate, which is used in water purification, has also been produced from Cynthia kaolinite.


In other ASX battery metals news:

Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) has successfully produced refined lithium phosphate using spent lithium-ion batteries as a feed material. Victorian battery recycler Envirostream supplied Lithium Australia with mixed metal dust for recycling technology development studies, to recover the lithium in particular, but also cobalt, nickel and copper. Most commercial recycling processes do not recover lithium.
Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN) will start drilling at its Hombre Muerto lithium brine project in Argentina later this week. “With the maiden resource currently being defined for Candelas, we are now turning our attention to drilling our Western Basin projects where we hope to discover more low impurity, high-grade lithium in our land holding in one of the richest lithium areas in the world,” managing director Juan Pablo said.
Anson Resources (ASX:ASN) has appointed Tom Currin of Southwest Technologies as a Technical Advisor. Currin previously worked for lithium producer FMC and has been involved in the construction of five lithium carbonate pilot plants globally.