Blackstone Minerals Limited (ASX: BSX) (“Blackstone” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on the Joint Venture process for its Ta Khoa Project in Vietnam.
Joint Venture (“JV”) partner interest in Blackstone Minerals Limited (“Blackstone” or the “Company”) Vietnamese Ta Khoa Project (“TKP”) has increased significantly following the execution of the Wabowden Nickel Project option agreement (“Wabowden”) (refer ASX announcement 5 December 2023)Blackstone’s recent execution of an option agreement to acquire the Wabowden Nickel Project in Manitoba, Canada gives the Company an opportunity to produce Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) compliant critical mineral products from the Ta Khoa Refinery (“TKR”)Blackstone has expanded the competitive partnership process to now include North American and European original equipment manufacturer’s (“OEM”) seeking IRA compliant minerals to qualify for the Electric Vehicle (“EV”) tax creditMultiple site visits were conducted with potential partners for the TKP and a recent partner site visit was conducted for the Wabowden ProjectStrong interest from South Korean, Japanese and Chinese groups as well as North American and European OEM’sIncreased interest from potential partners since the recent update to the IRA regarding critical minerals extracted, processed or recycled by a Foreign Entity of Concern (“FEOC”)Multiple independent global mining finance and JV advisors (“the Advisors”) have been engaged to complete the JV partnership process
Watch a video summary of the announcement here or to participate in the special investment offer for shareholders (refer Prospectus 5 December 2023) head to the Blackstone Investor Hub by clicking here
Blackstone Minerals’ Managing Director, Scott Williamson, commented:
“With our plans to integrate Wabowden into the Ta Khoa Refinery we’ve seen increased interest in the JV partner process. With our foot on the refinery feedstock security we can now complete the JV partner process. We’re in the final stages of the process which will be the culmination of many years of relationship building with key potential strategic partners from the Lithium-ion battery and EV industries. The Ta Khoa Project offers a high quality, low carbon footprint pCAM product which is what differentiates it from other nickel sources out of South East Asia. The project has been sufficiently advanced to now allow the JV partner process to be finalised and for Blackstone to enter into the next phase of financing and development.”
This process will be the culmination of many years of work conducted by Blackstone to develop strong relationships with prospective partners. Blackstone will now complete the JV partner process to ensure a successful partnership that will satisfy financiers requirements to fund the development of the Ta Khoa Project.
The JV partnership process is the first step in the TKP financing strategy. Following completion of the process, Blackstone and the JV partners will progress towards a final investment decision (“FID”) and full project financing.
NICKEL FEED SECURITY
Whilst Blackstone’s technical and project’s teams have been working on the project definitive feasibility study (“DFS”), Blackstone has also been looking to secure the required nickel feed stock to underpin a 50-year Ta Khoa Refinery production life.
The TKR will be designed and built to operate for 50 years, well beyond the life of the initial Ta Khoa Nickel Mine. Long term nickel feed security is critical for this long operating life. The planned feed from Ta Khoa and Wabowden will provide sufficient nickel concentrate feed for 20 years or longer, during which time Blackstone will continue to identify and source additional nickel concentrate.
The recently announced option to acquire the Wabowden Nickel Project is the first step in Blackstone’s Manitoba consolidation strategy. The Company has made this major move to secure sufficient IRA compliant nickel to fill the TKR for multiple decades.
Third Party feed sources will remain important to Blackstone. The Company signed a Letter of Interest (“LOI”) with Trafigura in 20211 and has had similar discussions with other commodity traders. Blackstone expects these sources will fill short term supply and blending needs, rather than being the basis of the development.
Blackstone will also continue to search for high quality nickel sources both locally (within South East Asia) and internationally, which complement the TKR feed strategy and can deliver low carbon, low cost nickel units. One recent example of this includes progressing the Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Cavico for supply of mixed metal hydroxide precipitates (“MHP”) (refer ASX announcement 13 November 2023).
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