Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX: BSX) is a mineral exploration and development company, with a 90% interest in the Ta Khoa district scale nickel project in Vietnam. BSX is actively exploring and developing the project which will include the refining of nickel-cobalt concentrate into a NCM precursor to satisfy the demand of its strategic partner Ecopro and potentially other battery manufacturers.
BSX pursues a two-fold strategy:
- Upstream: aiming to deliver a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for restart of mining operations at Ta Khoa with MSV (massive sulfide veins) ore being processed at the existing concentrator (450,000 tpa) and a blend of MSV + DSS (disseminated sulfides) ore being processed in a new treatment plant (8 million tpa capcity).
- Downstream: produce NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) precursor to be delivered to cathode manufacturers including its current partner Ecopro.
The production of a NCM precursor adds significant value far beyond the refining step as the payability, typically (70-80%) affecting the sale of nickel concentrates, becomes irrelevant and BSX eliminates the Vietnamese tariffs applied to the export of nickel concentrates.