A mineral only exploration licence could be granted to a mining company to explore the Mount Hope area in the hopes of finding commercially mineable quantities of the mineral halloysite kaolin.
Andromeda Industrial Minerals has applied for an exploration licence for 227 square kilometres of land in the Mount Hope area, about 80 kilometres northwest of Port Lincoln.
The application was received by the South Australian government in early September.
Andromeda Metals managing director James Marsh, who also oversees Andromeda Industrial Minerals, said there had been interest in the Mount Hope area for many years.
“A lot of relevant exploration work has already been done at Mount Hope over many years, but those companies were targeting a different market for which the mineral concerned was not suited,” he said.
“World demand exceeds supply for halloysite kaolin and both Carey’s Well and Mount Hope represent very interesting opportunities to meet that demand out of South Australia.”
Halloysite is a rare derivative of kaolin where the mineral occurs as nanotubes and due to its wide variety of industrial uses beyond kaolin has a higher premium than the average kaolin price.
Mr Marsh said Andromeda Metals would also be extracting a 200 tonne sample from the company’s Carey’s Well site this week for full commercial trials in Australia and China.
He said results from this trial would allow the company to lock in binding agreements with customers.
“We are currently working towards obtaining a mining lease for the same mineral at Carey’s Well (our Poochera project) and so Mount Hope would follow on behind this if we are successful,” he said.
“Mount Hope would need to go through the same process as Carey’s Well with some detailed resource studies done first before moving onto a pre-feasibility study and permitting/environmentals (permits) before submitting a mining lease application.”