Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) is a leading battery and precious metals exploration and development company focused on the flagship Ta Khoa Nickel PGE (Cu Co) Sulfide Project, located 160km west of Hanoi in the Son La Province of Vietnam.
The Ta Khoa district and Ban Phuc mine represents a rare opportunity to invest in a premier, infrastructure advantaged, district scale, nickel PGE (Cu Co) sulfide project, with a downstream nickel sulfate value add opportunity, located in an emerging hub for electric vehicle lithium-ion battery manufacturing.
Additional projects within Blackstone’s high-calibre portfolio of nickel sulfide, copper-gold-cobalt and gold projects in North America and Australia are being advanced for drill testing or joint venture, including the BC Project (Cobalt-Gold) in Canada and the Silver Swan South Project (Gold-Nickel) in Western Australia.
The Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project
Above: Internationally-designed 450ktpa processing plant
Blackstone’s 90%-owned Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project is located 160km west of Hanoi in the Son La Province of Vietnam. It includes an existing modern nickel mine built to Australian Standards, currently under care and maintenance. The Ban Phuc nickel mine successfully operated as a mechanised underground nickel mine from 2013 to 2016.
Previous project owners invested more than US$136m in capital and generated US$213m in revenue during a 3.5-year period of falling nickel prices. The project was placed into care and maintenance in mid-2016 during some of the lowest nickel prices in the past 10 years.
Existing infrastructure associated with the project includes an internationally-designed 450ktpa processing plant connected to local hydro grid power with a fully-permitted tailings facility and a modern 250-person camp.
Since commencing maiden drilling August 2019, Blackstone has made significant progress at Ta Khoa, drilling over 9,000m of diamond core in more than 47 holes into the Ban Phuc DSS deposit and the highly prospective King Cobra discovery zone.
Drilling at Blackstone’s King Cobra discovery has delivered significant high-grade intersections, including 60m @ 1.3% Nickel from 32m. It includes the first-ever intersection of massive sulfide vein and breccia styles of sulfide mineralisation within the Ban Phuc intrusion and may provide vectors towards the high grade ‘feeder zone’ mineralisation.
Blackstone aims to deliver a maiden resource on the DSS at Ban Phuc over the coming months and investigate the potential to restart the existing Ban Phuc concentrator through focused exploration on both MSV and DSS deposits. Blackstone has commenced a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa. The scoping study will provide detail for potential joint venture partners to formalise a binding agreement. Blackstone has commenced metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS deposit with an aim to develop a flow sheet for a product suitable for the lithium ion battery industry. In addition, the company will investigate the potential to develop downstream processing infrastructure in Vietnam to produce a downstream nickel and cobalt product to supply Asia’s growing lithium ion battery industry.