SURFACE

WA Kaolin bags equipment

WA KAOLIN has ordered bagging equipment for its Wickepin kaolinised granite project in the Western Australia's southeast.

 WA Kaolin has secured bagging equipment to export its kaolin granite production.

WA Kaolin has secured bagging equipment to export its kaolin granite production.

The Wickepin project has an ore reserve of 30.5 million tonnes of the white clay, and with demand expected to increase substantially in the short-medium term WAK is not wasting any time in getting its product to market.

Kaolin granite is used for manufacturing lightweight composites for the automotive, marine, aerospace, pharmaceutical and plastics industries.

It is a key ingredient in fiberglass and ceramics and provides the white coating for paper.

This month the junior miner told shareholders it had ordered a Haver M-Series 4W valve bag filling machine.

The machine will fill 700 valve bags with 20kg of kaolin per hour for export and will arrive within the next nine months.

This will equate to about half the production capacity, 50,000 tonnes per annum, from the first phase development of mine.

Over the next two years production from Wickepin will be ramped up to 400,000tpa.

WAK chief Andrew Sorensen said the contract was another step forward towards development of Wickepin.

"The acquisition of high-quality bagging equipment from a world leading company such as Haver & Boecker will ensure that we have the appropriate facilities in place as we are moving towards production," Sorensen said.

"As the market for kaolin packed into 20kg is very strong in Australia and the Asia Pacific, it was imperative we chose the right group to supply our value bag filling machine requirements."

WAK acquired the Wickepin project more than two decades ago from Rio Tinto.

To date, WAK has spent more than $42 million in development of the mine and research and development for processing of the kaolin.

The company has developed its own dry processing method dubbed K99.

It will process the clay-like material at its Kwinana plant.

Wickepin has a mineral resource of 644.5 million tonnes of kaolin.

A definitive feasibility study of Wickepin found robust economics.

It has a net present value of $257 million and internal rate of return of 47%.

WAK expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of around $29.2 million per annum over a 31-year mine life from Wickepin.

Paul-Alain van Lieshout Hunt is a broadcaster and senior journalist at Energy News Au (ENB), Mining News (MNN) and Australia's Mining Monthly (AMM). Got tips? Reach out to paul.hunt@aspermont.com 

 

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