Blackstone to Acquire Majority Stake in Ta Khoa Nickel Project

- May 8th, 2019

Blackstone Minerals has entered a binding term sheet to acquire a 90 percent interest in the Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam.

Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) has entered a binding term sheet to acquire a 90 percent interest in the Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam’s Son La province.

Located 160 kilometers west of Hanoi, Ta Khoa includes the pre-existing Ban Phuc nickel mine, which operated from 2013 to 2016 before being put on care and maintenance.

Existing infrastructure at the project includes a 250 person camp and a 450,000 tonne per year processing plant that’s connected to a local power grid.

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Ban Phuc was previously owned by Asian Mineral Resources (TSXV:ASN) before the company opted to divest its 90 percent stake in the asset in 2018. As part of Blackstone’s 12 month option agreement, the company must make quarterly option payments of US$100,000 to AMR Nickel.

The company is to also issue AU$1 million worth of ordinary fully paid Blackstone shares to exercise the option agreement; Blackstone can extend this period to 24 months by spending at least AU$1 million on exploration activities within the first 12 months.

Alongside the Ban Phuc nickel mine, the Ta Khoa project comes with a 150 square kilometer land package that hosts over 25 advanced stage massive sulfide vein (MSV) targets and several large disseminated sulfide (DSS) targets.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Blackstone to acquire a 90 percent interest in a project that has a history of profitable nickel production even during low nickel prices,” Blackstone Managing Director Scott Williamson said in a statement.

“Blackstone will be the first company to explore Ta Khoa for both MSV and DSS nickel sulfide deposits all the while investigating downstream processing opportunities to meet the demands of the growing Asian lithium-ion battery sector.”

Going forward, Blackstone intends to conduct further geophysics on the MSV and DSS deposits while also continuing drill campaigns; additionally, metallurgical testing will be done on the Ban Phuc disseminated orebody to develop a product flow sheet. The company is exploring the possibility of producing a downstream nickel-cobalt product for Asia’s lithium-ion battery market.

The company is aiming to release a maiden resource on the DSS at Ban Phuc in the coming months, though historic drilling has already returned notable intersections such as 74 meters at 1.02 percent nickel and 0.2 percent copper from 73 meters, and 90.2 meters at 1.1 percent nickel from 140.2 meters.

Blackstone entered a trading halt on the ASX shortly after releasing the announcement about Ta Khoa on Wednesday (May 8); the company’s share price currently rests at AU$0.064.

On the London Metal Exchange, nickel was trading at US$12,045 as of Tuesday (May 7).

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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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