WA Kaolin has an established resource of more than 100 million tonnes2 (reported in accordance with JORC 2012) of extremely high grade, easy access kaolin at a site near Wickepin, 220km southeast of Perth, Western Australia. This represents one of the largest known remaining premium primary resources of kaolin in the world.
The project is strategically located in a safe, stable and proven jurisdiction with the support of an engaged regional community and with easy access to existing infrastructure including road, rail and ports for exporting product to multiple growing markets.
WA Kaolin has developed a proprietary dry processing method, known as K99, turning raw material into market suitable feedstock for global customers. WA Kaolin has constructed a Stage 1 commercial processing plant using full scale equipment on three hectares of portside industrial land at Kwinana, near Fremantle in Western Australia.
WA Kaolin is currently shipping commercial container quantities to major producers and customers, through the ports of Fremantle and Bunbury.
WA Kaolin intends to invest further in order to move and expand its existing K99 plant from Kwinana to the mine site at Wickepin and to ramp-up K99 production capacity to 200,000 tonnes per annum within 12 months. It is anticipated that free cash flow will then enable the further expansion of this capacity to 400,000 tonnes per annum within 36 months.
Additional free cash flow after approximately 36 months may also allow investment in construction of a wet process plant to produce finished product suitable for premium paper and packaging markets at 250,000 tonnes per annum with capability to double that output.
The project comprises four retention licences (R70/40, R70/42, R70/43 and R70/44) and a single mining lease (M70/1143). The total tenement area exceeds 10,000 hectares and has been extensively studied with over 17,000 metres of air core drilling conducted. The total Inferred Mineral Resource (JORC 2012) is 644.5 million tonnes1.
ref: CSA Global Resource Report R351.2019
De-risked and mining ready
Personal investment from the founding directors has de-risked the pathway to profit, with AU$39 million invested in acquisition of the project, environment, permitting, marketing and capital expenditure (capex) activities in support of the multi-generational mine life and long-term prospects of the business. In the process, the company has developed a tier 1, global customer base.
Demand continues to outstrip supply, with customers in place for 100% of current production while offtake deal negotiations for expanded production are encouraging and ongoing, with one existing customer signing a letter of intent (LOI) for approximately 50% of production over the first three years during ramp up.
WA Kaolin has developed a proprietary process (known as the ‘K99 dry process’) in a working pilot plant, located in Kwinana, Western Australia, with a current capacity of 20,000 tonnes per annum, delivering an ultra-bright kaolin targeted at a low production cost compared to competitors.
Circa AU$18 million of investment will support the Stage 1 ramp up to commercial production, including the construction of a processing plant at Wickepin, utilising the K99 process, to progressively increase production to more than 200,000 tonnes per annum.
WA Kaolin’s strategic plan contemplates utilising free cashflow to expand production capacity to >400,000 tonnes per annum after 36 months.
1 CSA Global Resource Report R280.2017