$21m cap raise to light a rocket under Blackstone Minerals’ Ta Khoa nickel project
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Special Report: The significant $21m cash injection will boost ongoing exploration, resource drilling and future mining studies at the world class Ta Khoa nickel-PGE project in Vietnam.
Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) has been flying this year.
Since January 1, the stock is up 200 per cent — from 16c to 48c (pre-open) — as it progresses the “district scale” Ta Khoa nickel-PGE project towards development.
Blackstone now has firm commitments to raise $17.8m from sophisticated, professional and institutional investors to take this project through the next phase.
Additionally, current retail shareholders can subscribe for up to $30,000 worth of new shares in a $3m share purchase plan (SPP).
The issue price of 42c per share for the placement and SPP represents a 14 per cent discount to the 10-day volume weighted average price (VWAP).
Blackstone says the $21m will help fund exploration and resource drilling, as well as project pre-feasibility (PFS) and definitive feasibility studies (DFS).
Miners undertake up to four different types of studies to determine whether or not a resource can be mined economically.
These are – in order of importance — scoping, preliminary feasibility, and definitive feasibility/bankable feasibility (BFS).
Ta Khoa includes an existing modern nickel mine and processing plant, which has been under care and maintenance since 2016 due to falling nickel prices.
Previous project owners focused mining and exploration efforts primarily on the thin but high-grade massive sulphide veins (MSV) at the Ban Phuc deposit, where 975,000 tonnes were successfully mined from an average vein width of 1.3m and at average grades of 2.4 per cent nickel and 1 per cent copper.
But there’s plenty more where that came from.
Blackstone now has six drill rigs in operation at Ta Khoa, of which three are testing massive sulphide vein targets at Ban Chang, and three are testing down dip extensions of the King Cobra discovery at Ban Phuc.
Blackstone’s goal is to deliver a maiden resource in the current third quarter.
This will initially focus on the disseminated sulphides (DSS) at Ban Phuc, where the company is investigating the potential to restart the 450,000-tonne-per-annum concentrator.
Blackstone has also started a scoping study on a downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa which is due for release this quarter.
This scoping study will provide crucial details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.
Additionally, Blackstone has kicked off all-important metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS deposit to develop a processing ‘flow sheet’ for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.
The company will investigate the potential to develop downstream processing infrastructure in Vietnam to produce a downstream nickel and cobalt product for Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.