Blackstone Minerals PFS Boosts Downstream Refinery Ambitions

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) released the results of a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for the development of a Downstream Refinery at the company’s Ta Khoa Refinery project in Northern Vietnam.

The PFS emphasises the competitive advantages of nickel sulphide projects and adding value via an integrated downstream processing strategy.

In doing so, the PFS demonstrates that a very low capital intensity is required for the TKR to produce Class I nickel at a scale that would make Blackstone a producer on a global scale.

The PFS considers a refinery design to process up to 400,000 tonnes per annum (Base Case) of nickel concentrate, confirming a technically and economically robust flow sheet to upgrade nickel sulphide concentrate to produce battery grade NCM811 Precursor for the lithium-ion battery industry.

“The Base Case PFS financial outcomes are compelling based on an NCM811 Precursor price forecast that is conservative compared to current observable market rates,” Blackstone Minerals managing director Scott Williamson said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“The internal rate of return on capital invested is exceptional for the Base Case, owing to very low capital intensity, a significant premium available when upgrading nickel sulphide concentrates into battery grade NCM811 Precursor and the competitive operating advantages in Vietnam, which include access to low-cost renewable hydro power.

“Blackstone is very pleased by the level of collaboration with the Vietnamese Government to progress the company’s downstream refinery.

“As part of the PFS Blackstone completed a location study to identify preferred Refinery locations, with each of the shortlisted potential Refinery locations offering significant corporate tax incentives.

“The corporate tax incentives offered are a strong signal for the Vietnamese Government support for Foreign Direct Investment and Blackstone’s downstream refinery strategy.

“The Base Case Refinery represents Management’s view of the scale of operations that could over time, through exploration success, be supported by the company’s existing nickel sulphide mineralised landholdings.

“Economics have been presented assuming a ten-year life-of-operations, aligned with known and desired life-of-mine for 3PF concentrate sources that Blackstone aims to secure offtake.

“Management considers the more likely scenario is that the Refinery life will extend beyond ten years.”