Andromeda Metals (ASX: ADN) has teamed up with Minotaur Exploration (ASX: MEP) to collaborate on the research and development of commercial applications for halloysite-kaolin nanotube material from the Poochera project in South Australia, where Andromeda is earning up to 75% from Minotaur.
The companies will form an equally-owned joint venture company, once Andromeda has secured a 51% stake in Poochera.
Under its share of the research and development joint venture, Andromeda will spend $350,000 on research and development by 2020, with Minotaur to invest the same amount.
Additionally, the duo will seek federal and state government research and development funding assistance, as well as engaging with other companies to commercialise any new technology developed.
“Using the new company as a research and development vehicle will greatly assist the development of these new emerging high-tech uses of the halloysite component of the Poochera kaolin resource, thereby creating new product and market openings,” Andromeda explained.
Andromeda and Minotaur have already been undertaking research into new technological applications for halloysite nanotubes, which are unique naturally occurring minerals.
According to Andromeda, halloysite is a rare tubular shaped derivative of kaolin that has a variety of industrial uses.
Historically halloysite has been used as an additive in high-quality ceramics.
However, Andromeda claims there has been an increase in global research into developing new applications for halloysite.
The company noted that nanotubular halloysite could potentially be used in polymers, as carriers for active agents (ie drug deliver in medicine), and nano-templating.
Halloysite nanotubes could also to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into fuel, with other emerging applications for the material including batteries and super capacitators, water purification, construction and agriculture.
Poochera’s Carey’s Well deposit hosts a naturally occurring hybrid blend of halloysite and kaolin.
Andromeda is earning a 75% interest in Poochera from Minotaur by spending $6 million on exploration over five years. The company can secure an initial 51% stake by investing $3 million in exploration within the first two years.
Metallurgical test work on Poochera ore has also successfully produced a 99.99% high purity alumina product which has the potential to be used as feedstock for global lithium-ion battery and LED markets.
The Carey’s Well deposit has a resource of 20 million tonnes of bright white kaolinised granite, including 9.7Mt of halloysite.
In the short-term to generate early cash flow, Andromeda plans to produce a direct shopping ore for interested offtake companies in China, Japan and India.
Investors reacted positively to the research and development collaboration, with Andromeda’s share price soaring 14% to $0.008 by late morning, while Minotaur’s share price was up 9.52% to $0.046.