Special Report: Not content with its new status as Australia’s only hydrous kaolin producer, Suvo is pulling out all the stops to further advance its kaolin and silica sand plays.

As executive chairman Robert Martin told Stockhead: “We are here to get things done and we are putting some pretty onerous time constraints on ourselves as a board because of that.”

There’s plenty of evidence to back his bold statement.

In just five months since Suvo Strategic Minerals’ (ASX:SUV) re-listed, the company has transitioned from being a junior explorer to Australia’s only hydrous kaolin producer after completing the acquisition of Imerys’ Australian kaolin mining operations (Pittong) in Victoria.

Over in Western Australia, the company has also completed resource definition and step out drilling programs at its White Cloud – formerly White Knight – kaolin deposit along with maiden resource drilling at the Nova silica sand project.

Pittong growth

But for Suvo, these are just the first steps in its ambitious plans.

At its new Pittong operations near Ballarat, Victoria, the company is in the process of re-evaluating the known kaolin resource from the European standard to JORC standards over the next three months.

It also believes there is sufficient resources in the ground to support a considerable upgrade to the existing plant and have a drilling campaign planned to test this belief.

“We are looking to expand that plant by three to four times. The demand’s there for the product and we are currently working out the best way to do it,” Martin said.

He added that besides being EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) positive and a proven supplier of high quality pharmaceutical grade kaolin, the acquisition of Pittong also gave the company access to a pool of experienced personnel.

“This is a specialty mineral using a hydrous production method to supply kaolin products in bagged, bulk and slurry form.  This is unique in Australia and we will leverage  that expertise to help us develop the White Cloud operation and build a processing plant for bulk export markets targeting ceramics, pharmaceutical and other premium priced markets,” he added.

“Our intention with White Cloud is to start with up to half a million tonnes of product per year, which is an extremely large sales revenue and EBITDA generating project if we achieve that.”

Exploration progress

Other upcoming milestones are the results from the resource infill and step-out drilling programs at White Cloud which are expected before the end of this month and February respectively, along with results from the Nova drilling campaign.

Martin says the company is moving to upgrade the White Cloud resource from inferred to the higher confidence indicated level, which has sufficient information on geology and grade continuity to support mine planning.

“This allows us to start talking about our sales pipeline and offtake agreements and pricing,” he explained.

White Cloud currently has an inferred resource of 31.5 million tonnes and is expected to be where the company pushes out its bulk product from.

Suvo also hopes to have results from the Nova drilling in March with a maiden resource defined in the same month.

Other activities include completing a pre-feasibility study for White Cloud in April and securing offtake agreements for both the Pittong operations and White Cloud project.

The latter will be facilitated by the company’s latest hire, global sales executive Eileen Hao, who has 25 years’ experience with manufacturers and end users of industrial minerals in Asia, the US, South America and Europe.

“She’s extremely good at what she does. She’s worked before with one of our non-executive directors, Dr Ian Wilson, in setting up new plants in China and Europe and then actually dealing with the end user clients developing the products and offtake agreements. These kinds of relationships are invaluable,” Martin noted.

“Her network through China, Asia, Europe and America is second to none.”

He added that with her experience and skillset as an industrial chemist and geologist, Hao will know where the products from White Cloud and Pittong are best suited to extract maximum value.

This article was developed in collaboration with Suvo Strategic Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.