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A kaolin deposit dominated by halloysite occurs within the Maralinga Lands of western South Australia.
Halloysite is a tubular form of kaolin and global research interest into new and innovative uses of this natural nanotube is intensifying, including research by DMITRE personnel. Potential uses of halloysite include as fibre reinforcement in polymers and as micro-containers for controlled delivery of active agents (anti-fouling agents, fertiliser and pesticide delivery, invitro medical drugs).
There are currently only two commercial deposits of halloysite worldwide (Northland in New Zealand and Dragon Mine, Utah, USA) Recent studies by DMITRE indicate that halloysites from Camel Lake are thinner, more consistent in shape and with superior internal characteristics (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Kaolin nanotubes from Camel Lake (top left) and hexagonal kaolin platelets from Poochera (top right). 1μm = 1000th of a millimetre.