iTech Minerals hits the ground running at South Australian kaolin-rare earth elements assets

iTech Minerals ASX ITM South Australia kaolin rare earth elements assets Ethiopia Caralue Bluff
In addition to advancing its kaolin assets, iTech Minerals is looking to service the lithium-ion battery market with its Campoona graphite project, including using an environmentally friendly beneficiation process.

Battery and critical minerals explorer iTech Minerals (ASX: ITM) has hit the ground running with exploration at its South Australian assets since listing on the ASX this month.

The company has continued work at the advanced Ethiopia and Caralue Bluff kaolin and rare earth elements (REE) prospects along the remote Eyre Peninsula, identifying high-purity kaolin at Ethiopia with intervals between 4m and 24m where the kaolin has less than 1% total iron oxides.

Historic samples were found to have anomalous cerium values which has led the company to start investigating the potential for iron absorption clay mineralisation.

iTech has since submitted 35 samples for additional REE analyses, and is scheduled to re-sample the 41 remaining drill holes at Ethiopia next month.

This will include the most anomalous hole which had over 30m at 330 parts per million cerium within the weathered profile.

New tenement

At the Bendigo kaolin prospect, iTech has been granted a new tenement in the Franklyn project area over 106 square kilometres of the Nackara Arc.

The prospect has an exploration target based on historic drilling of up to 91 million tonnes of halloysite-kaolinite containing 30% to 36% aluminium oxide in less than 45-micron fraction.

Recent mapping and historic results show the new ground covers outcropping to shallow kaolinised granite and has potential to extend the exploration target to the north.

A total of 25 samples have been taken from historic drill holes and submitted for kaolin and REE testwork.

iTech said the results would guide an upcoming drilling program in the region.

De-risked opportunity

At the Campoona lithium-iron-graphite project, iTech has a de-risked opportunity to supply spheroidal graphite and graphene into the growing battery technology market.

The advanced project has a mineral resource of 8.55Mt at 9% total graphitic carbon.

It comprises a granted mining lease and two multi-purpose leases for processing and water infrastructure.

iTech is working with German industrial and battery materials specialist ANZAPLAN to undertake environment-friendly (hydrofluoric acid-free) flake graphite beneficiation and spheronisation for lithium-ion battery anodes.

The company has been collecting run-of-mine samples from Campoona for transport to Germany, and has been working on a proposal for an updated scoping study.

Drilling plans

iTech said it remains well advanced with its plans for kaolin and REE drilling on the Eyre Peninsula.

The work will be managed by newly-appointed exploration manager Wade Bollenhagen, who was with technology-focused company Archer Materials (ASX: AXE) for over a decade.

Notifications of entry have been sent to Ethiopia and Caralue Bluff landowners in preparation for drilling once the harvest season has closed.

Notifications have also been sent to Bendigo and Franklyn landowners with drilling in these areas set to commence once approvals have been received.

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