THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Korea’s largest electric vehicle (EV) battery cathode manufacturer.
Blackstone has inked a non-binding MoU with Ecopro BM Co Limited that outlines an alliance structure whereby Ecopro BM and Blackstone will work in partnership to develop a downstream processing facility in association with the company’s Ta Khoa nickel project in northern Vietnam.
The MoU is a boon for both entities in that Blackstone wishes to engage a development partner to provide funding to commercialise the Ta Khoa nickel project, while Ecopro BM has indicated its willingness to enter into an alliance with Blackstone with a view to formalising a Joint Venture on the downstream processing infrastructure project in association with the project.
The intention of the MOU is for the parties to enter into an alliance to form a Joint Venture with the intention to develop a suitable nickel, cobalt or other battery mineral product for lithium-ion battery manufacturing.
“We are pleased to announce an MoU with Korea’s largest cathode manufacturer,” Blackstone Minerals managing director Scott Williamson saidn in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“Our Ta Khoa nickel project has significant potential to deliver the critical raw materials required for Ecopro’s cathode manufacturing process and meet the ever-increasing demand for high-nickel content cathodes driven by the imminent electric vehicle (EV) revolution.
“We look forward to finalising a formal agreement with Ecopro over the coming months.
“In the meantime, we continue the exploration and development of our flagship Ta Khoa nickel project in northern Vietnam.”
Blackstone is keen to deliver a maiden resource on the disseminated sulphide (DSS) at Ban Phuc over the coming months as it investigates the potential to restart the existing Ban Phuc concentrator through focused exploration on both massive sulphide veins (MSV) and DSS deposits.
The company has commenced a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa, the purpose of which is to provide detail for potential JV partners to formalise a binding agreement.
Blackstone has commenced metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS orebody with an aim to develop a flow sheet for a product suitable for the lithium ion battery industry.
In addition, Blackstone intends to 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.
The Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam includes an existing modern nickel mine which has been under care and maintenance since 2016 due to falling nickel prices.
Existing infrastructure includes an internationally designed 450,000 tonnes per annum processing plant.