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Source: Blackstone Minerals
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  • Blackstone Minerals (BSX) has completed a scoping study for the Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-Platinum Group Element (PGE) Project in Vietnam
  • This marks an important step in restarting operations and developing a mine-to-market nickel business
  • The project includes the Ban Phuc open-pit mine, upstream and downstream processing facilities and many nickel sulphide targets and prospects
  • The scoping study has forecast annual nickel production of 12,700 tonnes per annum over an 8.5-year project life
  • The study also outlined pre-production capital costs of around US$314 million (roughly A$438.3 million)
  • Additionally, Ta Khoa boasts a pre-tax net present value of US$665 million (roughly A$928.4 million) and gross revenue of US$3.3 billion (A$4.6 billion)
  • According to Managing Director Scott Williamson, the scoping study is just the beginning for the future of nickel operations at Ta Khoa
  • Company shares have dropped 15.5 per cent and are trading for 41 cents

Blackstone Minerals (BSX) has completed a scoping study to restart operations at the Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-Platinum Group Element (PGE) Project in Vietnam.

The project includes the Ban Phuc open-pit mine, along with upstream and downstream processing to produce nickel products for Asia’s growing lithium-ion batteries in Asia.

The scoping study marks an important step in restarting operations and developing a mine-to-market nickel business that incorporates one of the world’s first green nickel processing facilities.

Blackstone will aim to form a joint venture agreement with its largest shareholder, EcoPro, to jointly build the downstream processing facility. The upstream processing facility will likely be funded through debt and equity.

Processing rates of two, four and six million tonnes per annum have been examined for the overall processing plant, but optimised rates of four million and six million tonnes per annum have been chosen.

“The scoping study defines a project path that maximises economics, minimises environmental and social impacts, and offers a lasting legacy to the people in our local community,” Managing Director Scott Williamson said.

Ta Khoa contains large, disseminated nickel sulphide targets and 25 other prospects. Interstingly, the internal Ban Phuc mine operated as an underground mine between 2013 and 2016. During that time, it produced 20,700 tonnes of nickel, 10,100 tonnes of copper and 670 tonnes of cobalt.

The Ban Phuc Disseminated Sulfide Deposit has a maiden indicated resource of 44.3 million tonnes at 0.52 per cent nickel for 229,000 tonnes of nickel and an inferred mineral resource of 14.3 million tonnes at 0.35 per cent nickel for 50,000 tonnes of nickel.

The scoping study has forecast annual nickel production of 12,700 tonnes per annum over an 8.5 year project life.

The study also outlined pre-production capital costs of around US$314 million (roughly A$438.3 million). This will cover mining, infrastructure, processing, refining, project execution, owners costs and contingency.

Further financial metrics for the project include a net pre-tax cashflow of around US$1.2 billion (roughly A$1.6 billion), pre-tax net present value of around US$665 million (roughly A$928.4 million), gross revenue of US$3.3 billion (A$4.6 billion) and an internal rate of return (IRR) of between 38 and 50 per cent.

“Whilst we are pleased with the outcomes of this study, we will continue to expand our resource and increase our production potential in this exciting, and yet under-explored region of Vietnam and have commenced work on PFS level studies for the project,” Scott stated.

Blackstone believes the Ta Khoa Project presents a number of enhancement opportunities which will generate significant value. The scoping study represents just the starting point for the future of nickel operations at Ta Khoa.

Company shares have dropped 15.5 per cent and are trading for 41 cents at 10:38 am AEDT.

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