This is the conclusion of a binding option agreement from May 2019 to purchase AMR’s 90% interest.
It also means that Blackstone has completed a condition precedent of a binding share purchase agreement with EcoPro, Korea’s largest electric vehicle (EV) battery cathode manufacturer.
New partner EcoPro
Blackstone's managing director Scott Williamson said: “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”.
The company will issue 8.6 million shares to Ta Khoa Mining Limited as per the binding term sheet agreement of A$1 million of Blackstone Minerals shares based on the VWAP for the past 30 trading days.
These consideration shares will be subject to shareholder approval.
Ban Phuc infrastructure
The nickel-PGE (platinum group elements) project includes an existing modern nickel mine, the Ban Phuc mine which has been under care and maintenance since 2016 due to falling nickel prices.
Existing infrastructure includes an internationally designed 450,000 tonnes per annum processing plant.
Previous project owners focused their mining and exploration efforts primarily on the massive sulphide veins (MSV) at Ban Phuc.
Blackstone aims to deliver a maiden resource in the third quarter of 2020, focused initially on the disseminated sulphide (DSS) at Ban Phuc.
The company continues to investigate the potential to restart the existing Ban Phuc concentrator while focusing exploration on both MSV and DSS deposits.
As part of a due diligence process leading to the completion of the acquisition, Blackstone has explored MSV and DSS targets, initially within a 5-kilometre radius of the existing processing facility.
This work, including a maiden drilling campaign, is ongoing and further geophysics will be conducted.
Metallurgical testing has started on the DSS deposit with an aim to develop a flowsheet for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.
Scoping study underway
A scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa has commenced and will be announced in quarter three to provide details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.
In addition, Blackstone will investigate the potential to develop downstream processing infrastructure in Vietnam to produce a downstream nickel and cobalt product to supply Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.