Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has completed a “positive” Scoping Study for the development and restart of the Ta Khoa Nickel-Cu-PGE Project in Vietnam.
Buoyed by the strength of the results of the Scoping Study the company has immediately commenced the next phase of Pre-Feasibility Studies.
The Ta Khoa Project comprises an open pit mine at the Ban Phuc Disseminated Sulfide (DSS), upstream processing and downstream processing to produce a Precursor product for Asia’s growing Lithium-ion Battery Industry.
Managing Director, Scott Williamson, said the company sees the Scoping Study as an important milestone and an initial platform to build a mine-to- market nickel business over the coming years with multiple upside opportunities to improve on the Scoping Study as presented.
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,” Mr Williamson said.
“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.”
- Maiden Ban Phuc DSS indicated resource of 44.3Mt @ 0.52% Ni for 229kt Ni and Inferred Mineral Resource of 14.3Mt @ 0.35% Ni for 50kt Ni;
- Annual production of ~12.7ktpa Ni over ~8.5-year project life;
Gross Revenue of ~US$3.3 billion (US$2.95 billion to US$3.6 billion);
Net pre-tax cashflow of ~US$1.2 billion (US$1.03 billion to US$1.37 billion);
Pre-production capital cost of ~US$314m including contingency;
Pre-tax NPV8% of ~US$665m (US$550m to US$780m) and ~45% IRR (38% to 50% IRR);
Pre-tax cashflow of ~US$179mpa (US$155mpa to US$210mpa);
Capital Payback Period of ~2.5 years;
Economically robust nickel sulphide project to produce downstream nickel: cobalt: manganese (NCM) Precursor products for the Lithium-ion battery industry;
Blackstone’s downstream NCM Precursor product significantly improves the payability of nickel, from ~70-80% to ~125-135% of LME metal prices;
Upside opportunities include staged Capex, by-product credits (including copper, gold, platinum, palladium and rhodium), King Cobra Discovery Zone (KCZ0, Ban Chang, Ta Cuong and 25 untested massive sulphide vein (MSV) targets.
The Ban Phuc nickel mine operated as a modern mechanised underground mine for 3.5 years between 2013 and 2016, producing 20.7kt Ni, 10.1kt Cu and 0.67kt Co, before closing when the defined mineable reserves were depleted.
The high-grade Ban Phuc MSV deposit was mined adjacent to the Ban Phuc DSS deposit and remains underexplored at depths below the base of previous mining.