Blackstone Minerals Acquires Interest in Vietnamese Nickel Project

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) rocked the auditorium on Day One at the RIU Sydney Resources Roundup by announcing it was entering a binding term sheet for the exclusive option to acquire a 90 per cent interest in the Ta Khoa nickel project.

The Ta Khoa nickel project is located 160 kilometres west of Hanoi in the Son La Province of Vietnam and includes an existing modern nickel mine built to Australian Standards, which is currently under care and maintenance.

The Ban Phuc nickel mine perated as a mechanised underground nickel mine from 2013 to 2016 and its previous owners invested more than US$136 million in capital and generated US$213 million 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 450,000 tonne per annum processing plant connected to local hydro grid power with a fully-permitted tailings facility and a modern 250- person camp.

Blackstone Minerals also has its eyes on the potential the project offers with the 150 square kilometre land package hosting more than 25 advanced stage massive sulphide vein (MSV) targets and many large disseminated sulphide (DSS) targets including the unmined Ban Phuc DSS.

Blackstone also signal its interest in investigating 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.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Blackstone to acquire a 90 per cent interest in a project that has a history of profitable nickel production even during low nickel prices,” Blackstone Mineral managing director Scott Williamson said ni the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Blackstone will be the first company to explore Ta Khoa for both MSV and DSS nickel sulphide deposits all the while investigating downstream processing opportunities to meet the demands of the growing Asian lithium ion battery sector.”