The Smoky Project comprises one exploration license (EL8944), which covers two blocks (6km2) in the upper Hunter Valley region of New South Wales (NSW).  The Smoky Project is directly north-west of a historic halloysite quarry, but for which production data is not available.

Smoky Project Location

Geology and Mineralisation

Spherical halloysite aggregates have been identified for the first time in mineral matter isolated from bituminous coals in the Hunter Valley.

The spherules found in Permian coals of the Sydney basin, New South Wales, range from 0.4 to 0.6 µm in diameter and have a delicate ring-like structure that helps to confirm the halloysite identification. They appear from their location to be related to influxes of pyroclastic debris, either directly or from nearby soils, into the original peat accumulation. The buckled structure in the ring-like pattern and the related crude polyhedral outlines probably reflect shrinkage with dehydration during the coalification process.

At the Burning Mountain local area, beds of kaolinite have formed from non-marine coal origin and range from 50m to over 200m thickness.  The Smoky Project area is potentially one of the few sites of the natural occurrence of metakaolin. The nodular metakaolin is an intermediate phase in the transition of ordered kaolinite to halloysite. The metakaolin that comprises the nodule core is mainly in the form of plates, whereas the outer halloysite layer is predominantly spheroidal.

Previous Exploration

Limited exploration has occurred at the Smoky Project. Two diamond holes at the current tenement were drilled in 1983.  One of these drill holes was logged to contain Kaolinite Clayrock from 0m to 23m (end of hole), while the other was logged to contain halloysite from 11m to 14.5m, with metakaolin identified from 21m to 26.5m and kaolinite identified from 27m to 43m (end of hole).  However, no assays were reported.

Exploration Potential

The Company has planned a systematic exploration program, which will include surface mapping, soil sampling and RC drilling, with metallurgical test work intended to be undertaken on any kaolin identified within the Project area.