Blackstone secures ownership of Vietnamese nickel project
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Special Report: Blackstone has exercised its option to acquire a 90 per cent ownership interest in the Ta Khoa nickel-platinum group elements project in Vietnam.
The company will issue 8.6 million shares to the vendor Ta Khoa Mining according to the binding term sheet agreement for $1m worth of BSX shares based on the volume weighted average price for the past 30 trading days.
This also completes a key condition for Blackstone Mineral’s (ASX:BSX) binding share purchase agreement with South Korea’s largest nickel-rich cathode materials manufacturer EcoPro.
“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project and welcome Steve Ennor and all of the team in Vietnam to the Blackstone group. We now look forward to the future of the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project with our new partner EcoPro,” managing director Scott Williamson said.
Blackstone is looking to deliver a maiden resource and scoping study for Ta Khoa in the third quarter of 2020.
This will be focused initially on the disseminated sulphide (DSS) zone at Ban Phuc and the potential restart of the existing concentrator through focused exploration on both massive sulphide veins and DSS deposits.
Ta Khoa is about 160km west of Hanoi and includes the Ban Phuc nickel mine and its attached 450,000-tonne-a-year concentrator that was built to Australian standards, a fully permitted tailings facility and a modern 250-person camp.
Ban Phuc was operated as a mechanised underground nickel mine from 2013 to 2016 and generated $US213m ($311.3m) in revenue during this period of falling nickel prices.
Recent drilling has intersected massive sulphide mineralisation within the broader disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation at the King Cobra discovery, which the company believes could be a “highly economic” starter pit.
Highlighting the value of the Ta Khoa project, the company signed a binding agreement earlier this month for EcoPro to acquire 40 million BSX shares at an issue price of 17c each, or a 62 per cent premium to the last traded price at that time.
Besides pumping in about $6.8m into Blackstone’s coffers, the agreement also outlines an alliance structure where the two companies will jointly work together to develop a downstream nickel processing facility in northern Vietnam that could potentially process nickel concentrate from Ta Khoa.