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Following compelling outcomes from the Ta Khoa Refinery (TKR) Pre-Feasibility Study (refer ASX announcement 26 July 2021), Blackstone Minerals ("Blackstone" or the "Company") Board of Director's have approved the first phase of pilot plant work and the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the TKR.
The first phase of piloting will be designed to process 20kg per hour of nickel concentrate feed and will produce approximately 1.75kg per hour of nickel in Nickel:Cobalt:Manganese (NCM) products:
- The first phase of piloting will produce various grades of NCM including NCM622 and NCM811
- Early design works for piloting have been completed, with procurement of equipment to commence in the current quarter
- The first phase of piloting will occur in the Son La Province within proximity to the Company's Ta Khoa Nickel – Cu – PGE Project (refer Figure 2)
- First pilot plant product currently expected early in 2022
- Testwork data from piloting will be in support of the TKR DFS
- Scope of Works submitted to Tier 1 firms to tender for lead engineering role for the TKR DFS
- The first phase of piloting and the TKR DFS are fully funded from existing cash reserves.
Blackstone Managing Director Scott Williamson said "the Board's endorsement of the recent PFS milestone has been rapidly followed by approval of the first phase of piloting and the Ta Khoa Refinery DFS. The pilot plant process is an opportunity for Blackstone to optimise, with respect to quantity and quality, recent successful outcomes which include the production of its first battery grade NCM811 Precursor sample. The Company is acutely aware of its first mover advantage and importantly, will be able to deploy its current balance sheet to continue to fast track the next important stages towards commercialisation of the Ta Khoa Refinery."