iTech Minerals nabs Archer’s tenements, plans to become new battery materials producer
iTech Minerals has big plans for the soon-to-be divested mineral tenements of semiconductor player Archer Materials (ASX:AXE) across South Australia.
The company will acquire the Eyre Peninsula kaolin project, the Campoona graphite project, and the Franklyn kaolin project – among others.
iTech plans to list in September, and as part of the sale agreement it will distribute 50 million shares to Archer shareholders – once the sale is approved at their shareholder meeting on August 30.
Focusing on graphite and kaolin opportunities
iTech managing director Michael Schwarz said Archer had put more than 10 years of effort into the assets – and iTech is set to benefit.
“We’re focusing on the potential for battery and critical minerals within this suite of exploration assets,” he said.
“We’re going to be focusing on graphite, but something else we identified is kaolin – which there’s a lot of potential for on the Eyre Peninsula tenements of Central South Australia.”
Notably, the Ethiopia prospect at the Eyre Peninsula kaolin project was previously drilled by Adelaide Resources and the South Australian Mines Department completed drilling at the Franklyn project.
Schwarz said the company is in the process of submitting samples for analysis.
“We should have results from a couple of drilling programs that have already been done for us soon after listing,” he said.
Producing high purity alumina for lithium-ion batteries
Schwarz said kaolin (which can be halloysite or kaolinite) has a variety of technical applications – and can even be used to produce high purity alumina (HPA).
“There’s a new technology where you can leach kaolin and get the aluminium oxide out, which produces high purity alumina, and it’s got the potential to be a disruptive technology,” he said.
“It’s a much cheaper way of doing it than the traditional method, which was basically producing aluminium metal and then converting it back into an oxide.
“And there’s the potential to use HPA as a separator in lithium-ion batteries between the anode and the cathode so it doesn’t short across – and that makes it a very strong, stable and robust battery for electric vehicles.
“We’ll also be focused on producing graphene from the graphite, which we’ve shown can be done from the Campoona deposit.”
Campoona a fully permitted project
Another bonus for iTech is that Campoona is a fully permitted graphite project with a mining lease, beneficiation and water lease granted.
“It’s a very advanced project we’ve managed to acquire,” Schwarz said.
“Archer released a JORC compliant mineral resource there and they also did a scoping study back in 2016.
“So, the first thing we’re going to be doing is upgrading that mineral resource and then bringing that scoping study up to 2021 prices and costs and we’ll have that underway pretty quickly.
“A lot of junior exploration companies have to start off right from the baseline and collect all their data, but we’re actually starting from a company that’s done 10 plus years of exploration development already – we’re standing on their shoulders and can advance quite quickly.”
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