White gold: the opportunity of kaolin entices ASX-listed exploration companies
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  • Another ASX-listed company has moved into the kaolin market, as companies begin to see the opportunities associated with the versatile mineral
  • Kaolin is a type of white clay, which is derived from the mineral Kaolinite
  • Its mainly used in the paper and ceramics industry, though it can also be used in fibreglass, rubber, plastic, pharmaceuticals and even makeup
  • Kaolin can be transformed into high purity alumina (HPA) which is used in new smart gadgets and lithium batteries

A new type of mineral is being snapped up by ASX-listed companies, who are hopping on the 'white gold' trend.

The opportunity here is kaolin - a type of white clay, which is derived from the mineral Kaolinite.

The mineral is used primarily by the paper and ceramics industry, however, it also has applications in fibreglass, rubber, plastic, pharmaceuticals and even makeup.

It can also be transformed into high purity alumina (HPA), which is in incredibly high demand as it's used in smartphones, watches and lithium-ion batteries.

HPA was traditionally produced from aluminium metal, but new technologies mean it can now be produced from kaolin, placing the mineral in hot demand as well.

There are numerous companies who have already bought into kaolin, including Andromeda Metals (ADN), Altech Chemicals (ATC), FYI Resources (FYI), Metalsearch (MSE), Archer Materials (AXE) and Accelerate Resources (AX8).

Picture: Kaolin Mining

Soon to be ASX-listed company SUVO Strategic Minerals (SUV) has also entered the market, acquiring the Mt Marshall Kaolin Project in WA last year.

SUVO Strategic Minerals plans to eventually sell its product to the premium ceramics, fibreglass and paper coating markets.

Altech Chemicals is taking a different approach. It recently completed stage two construction work at its HPA plant in Malaysia, where it plans to use kaolin as its feedstock.

Altech has a ten-year offtake sales arrangement with Mitsubishi Corporation's Australian subsidiary, Mitsubishi Australia, to supply them all of its HPA.

Meantime, FYI Resources wants to use its kaolin as feedstock to create HPA, as do Metalsearch.

While Andromeda - who has joint agreements in place with Minotaur Explorations (MEP) for two kaolin projects - believe they can sell the products both as feedstock and to the ceramic industry.

Finally, Archer Materials and Accelerate Resources have begun testing their kaolin product, to see what potential it has as HPA feedstock.

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