Blackstone Minerals Signs on for Ta Khoa Downstream Refining

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) improved its chances of upscaling its downstream refining business and realising its vision to become a global supplier of downstream nickel products for the Lithium-ion battery industry.

Blackstone Minerals has signed a Non-Binding Letter of Interest (LOI) with Trafigura Pte Ltd one of the largest physical commodities trading groups in the world and one of the leading physical commodities traders involved in copper, zinc, lead, nickel and cobalt trading.

The LOI relates to a potential agreement for Trafigura to supply nickel and cobalt products to Blackstone, which will supply downstream products for the Lithium-ion battery industry from the company’s Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam.

“We are delighted to have laid the foundations for our relationship with Trafigura, a globally significant trading company,” Blackstone Minerals managing director Scott Williamson said in the company’s ASX announcement.

“Blackstone is taking steps to become a significant global, green nickel product supplier catering to the battery market.

“We believe Vietnam is ideally situated to manufacture green nickel products, given its competitive costs, abundant supply of renewable energy and excellent infrastructure.

“In recent years, the country has demonstrated an enviable record of attracting foreign direct investment, particularly from Asian countries.

“In addition, our strategy to upscale the downstream business is particularly pertinent, given leading battery manufacturers have indicated the potential to construct battery manufactory facilities in country.

“The economic return on capital invested downstream is underpinned by superior margins achieved by producing downstream products.

“We are confident we can deliver a robust downstream processing flow sheet, enabling value to be realised from our mining inventory at Ta Khoa, as well by purchasing and subsequently refining of a range of nickel and cobalt materials.

“The purchase of third-party nickel & cobalt materials not only adds scale to the downstream business, it also adds diversification and reduces risk across the company’s portfolio of assets in Vietnam.”