IMARC: Blackstone seeks partnerships ahead of upcoming DFS

Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) is looking to secure potential joint ventures (JVs) with Australian and Canadian partners as it finalises a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for its Ta Khoa Refinery in Vietnam.  

Speaking to Mining.com.au on the sidelines of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) on day one (31 October 2023), Blackstone Executive Andrew Strickland says this work at its core nickel project is being undertaken in conjunction with developing a rare earths strategy in Vietnam. 

Mining.com.au is an official media partner of IMARC.

“We are continuing to look into developing the rare earths strategy in Vietnam. That is, realistically, what we are looking at over the next term, as well as progressing joint venture discussions,” Strickland says. 

“We are going to look at securing additional supply through the likes of M&As and supply agreements, but also through investment into secure resources we think suit our project well.”

When asked which companies would be the most attractive for Blackstone, Strickland said ‘those with an underdeveloped opportunity’, and he adds that the company prefers ‘overlooked’ projects in hopes of generating additional value.   

“At one project we had in Vietnam, there was a high-grade, small-scale massive sulphide resource next to a large-scale, medium-grade disseminated resource. The medium-grade was always written off by previous owners, whereas we looked at it and saw it as an opportunity.

We like to look at projects the same way, looking through a different lens and seeing how we can add value to something which has often been overlooked in the past.” 

“We like to look at projects the same way, looking through a different lens and seeing how we can add value to something which has often been overlooked in the past”

Strickland tells this news service that Vietnam offers an opportunity for ‘huge’ nickel potential.

“Vietnam is relatively underexplored compared to a lot of the other areas. There is huge potential for nickel. 

There are nickel mines in southern China linking through to Vietnam, but when you get to the border, they just stop, and the nickel belt continues through to Vietnam. 

We see that as a hugely prospective zone to continue to explore and develop additional resources.”   

On 26 July this year, the company announced it had entered into a three-way memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Vietnam Rare Earths (VTRE) and Australian Strategic Materials (ASX:ASM) to develop a fully integrated rare earths ‘mine-to-metals’ value chain in Vietnam. 

The triumvirate will work together to deliver a rare earth element (REE) hub in Vietnam’s northwestern region, where several potentially ‘high-grade’ REE deposits are available to be permitted and developed.

More recently, Blackstone announced that its exploration and reserve report for the Ta Khoa Nickel Mine was approved by the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy. The company notes this ‘significant’ milestone has allowed it to progress the Ban Phuc, Ban Khoa, King Snake, and Ban Chang mining licence applications. 

Blackstone Minerals is an ASX-listed explorer focused on building an integrated battery metals processing business in Vietnam that produces nickel, cobalt, and manganese precursor products for Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry. 

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Blackstone Minerals
Author Image
Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.