COMMERCIAL KAOLIN White (white firing) non-swelling clay - Also called “China Clay” White (white firing) non-swelling clay - Also called “China Clay” Dominantly kaolinite Dominantly kaolinite World Production 30mtpa (US$3b) Export markets 9mtpa
USES OF KAOLIN v Papermaking Pigment/Filler/Coating v Pigment in paint/inks High v Plastics/Rubber Value v Ceramics oMineral FillerLow Value Products oSource of Al2O3 oRefractories
Commercial Economics PREMIUM GRADE CRITERIA A high priced Kaolin has : v Superior Brightness v Superior Whiteness v Desired particle size v High opacity (good hiding power) v Chemical purity v Low viscosity (for paper markets) v Other properties - abrasivity, conductivity, etc
Pigment markets - Brightness Competitors Pigment Price per tonne (A$) v TiO2$3500 - $6000 v CaCO3 $350 - $500 v Kaolin $200 - $1200 Kaolin gives good performance for the price
Markets - Paper Demand v Paper demand increases with GDP v Asian paper production to overtake USA by 2010* Asia imports Kaolin from: GeorgiaBrazilUK * Source: Pulp and Paper Magazine
TASMANIA NEW ZEALAND USA EUROPE AND MIDDLE EAST INDONESIA THAILAND MALAYSIA AUSTRALIA JAPAN KOREA TAIWAN PROJECTLOCATION C ANADA West Coast CHINA
KAOLIN FORMATION v Economic deposits mainly weathering related v Associated with laterite and bauxite v Formed in wet/dry tropical climate v Over 1500m rain pa v Leaching process
LATERITIC WEATHERING BAUXITE IRONSTONE MOTTLED PALLID BEDROCK Leaching of cations --- Highest water --- Lowest water
MORE EFFECTIVE LEACHING v More water flow (fresh water & permeability) v More time v More bugs v Acid groundwater (oxidising organics) § Parent is only important if time is short or leaching is slow.
REMOVAL OF IRON v Ferrous leached more easily than ferric. v Least iron just below lowest water table v But leaching is slow below the water table v Organic grey kaolins formed here.
DIAGENESIS OF KAOLIN Feldspars & clays kaolinite Kaolinite increases in grain size The perfect kaolin recipe - Formed below water table then raised above it
SEDIMENTARY KAOLINS? v Cannot separate kaolinite from other clays by sedimentation. v All commercial kaolins are formed in situ (Pickering & Hurst 1997) v Ball clays? (70% disordered kaolin).
SKARDON RIVER KAOLIN - discovery…. Andrew White in 1985 19 holes 2 in lease Target of “Bulimba” kaolin found; Older weathering kaolin noted. Samples to CSIRO
SKARDON RIVER KAOLIN - exploration history pre SRK v 1986 - Drilled 93 holes - geology only v 1987 - 1990 Bulk sampling & testwork v 1993 - 188 RC holes - geology & ‘clay’ v 1994 - 10 DD holes v 1994 - 97 - Testing selected drill samples v 1997 - 207 RC holes - poor control
MISTAKES….. oNo initial raw values oDid not relate metallurgy to geology oPoor technical knowledge at board level oMoving goal posts oRolls Royce plant oMajor cost over-runs oNo coordination of consultants/contractors
Hydrous KaolinsHydrous Kaolins Plant capacity 75,000 tpa Wide range of industrial applications Represents the bulk of world supply Target of paint & rubber markets Skardon Product Range Calcined Kaolins Calcined Kaolins Plant capacity 75,000 tpa Higher performance Better brightness, opacity Competes with TiO2 Premium price Limited number of producers Paint, rubber, paper
MAJOR WORLD DEPOSITS Georgia, USA Amazon, Brazil Cornwall, UK ………. the odd one out Hercynian granite 280mA Debate weathering vs hydrothermal Coarse grained well crystallised kaolin Very limited available resources Product yield 15-20%
Georgia - Geology Cretaceous and Tertiary bedded kaolins Exposed just south of Fall Line Cap bentonite Cretaceous 60% -2micron Tertiary 85% -2micron
Georgia - Economics ADVANTAGES v Two types of kaolin v Expertise v Reputation v Transport for E USA & Europe DISADVANTAGES vOlder updated plants vMine locations vHigh stripping ratios vTransport to Asia
Amazon Geology Under bauxite exposed on slopes. Rio Jari – Pliocene, very fine grained 75% -2 micron. 36m thick deposit. Rio Capim – also Tertiary. Coarser than Jari. Thinner and some grit.
Amazon Economics ADVANTAGES Fine Kaolin Modern plant DISADVANTAGES vPipeline distance vTransport to Asia
Summary of the Skardon River Kaolin Project Long mine life Growing international demand Premium products Exceedingly low CAPEX entry price Best logistics for Asia Marketing and distribution agreements Technical Management Expertise