Advanced high purity alumina (HPA) hopeful Andromeda Metals has been flying between Australia and China as part of an aggressive marketing drive.

Andromeda was feeling out current market demand for its halloysite‐kaolin direct shipping ore (DSO) and dry processed products from the Poochera project in South Australia.

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The explorer is investigating a simple business model – starting with shipping raw ore from its Poochera project in South Australia 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.

HPA, which can be created from the aluminous clay kaolin, is in demand because it helps stop lithium-ion batteries from catching fire.

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

Today, the company announced that three potential DSO customers confirmed that demand for raw ore is strong and growing “due to a large gap in market supply”.

“The domestic supply of high quality halloysite‐kaolin has become extremely unreliable in quality and also limited in volume,” Andromeda told investors.

“A number of wet‐processing trials conducted on the Carey’s Well halloysite‐kaolin ore in China has proved that it can be used to produce a high‐quality product with the greatest possible market value.”

A 100,000 tonnes a year non‐binding offtake Letter of Intent for dry‐processed product has been signed by one potential Chinese customer, “with others anticipated to be received”.

There are also product trials using the versatile Carey’s Well ore happening in Japan, India, and even the UK, Andromeda says.

Andromeda’s aim is to move rapidly into prefeasibility stage after the Poochera scoping study is completed.

The stock — which jumped about 13 per cent in morning trade – is now up an impressive 184 per cent so far this year.


In other ASX small cap speciality metals news:

Comet Resources (ASX:CRL) prepares for fresh drilling at Springdale  graphite project in south west WA. Springdale already has a defined inferred resource of 15.6Mt at 6 per cent Total Graphitic Carbon (TGC), including a high-grade portion of 2.6 million tonnes at 17.5 per cent TGC. Drilling is expected to commence in mid-August and will run concurrent with an aerial electromagnetic survey (EM).

“This gives us a good base to begin our work program to upgrade and increase the shallow, high grade component of the existing graphite resource,” Comet Resources chief executive Philippa Leggat says. “The use of EM surveys, which has already resulted in the discovery two high-grade zones outside the existing resource, is expected to greatly assist our team in identifying new high-grade graphite zones near surface.”
Aspiring battery materials producer Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) raises a handy $5.8m via an oversubscribed share purchase plan.

“We value the ongoing support from our shareholders as we progress the Sconi cobalt-nickel-scandium project in North Queensland through to a Final Investment Decision during the second half of this year,” Australian Mines managing director Benjamin Bell says. New shares will be issued on 22 July.