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Blackstone Identifies Ta Khoa Refinery Nickel Supply Target

Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) (“Blackstone” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Cavico Laos Mining (“CLM”) to collaborate in a number of areas associated with CLM’s nickel mine in Lao People's Democratic Republic (“Laos”) and supply of nickel products for Blackstone’s Ta Khoa Refinery (“TKR”) in Vietnam.


The MOU was executed at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam and was witnessed by His Excellency Andrew Goledzinowski, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam.

CLM own and operate the Ban Bo Mine located in the Province of Bolikhamsay in Laos. Mining activities commenced in 2022 and just recently CLM commissioned a small hydrometallurgical plant to produce Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (“MHP”), an intermediate product which can be processed at Blackstone’s TKR. Geologically, the Ban Bo Mine and its surrounds are highly prospective with Iron Ore, Rare Earths, Cobalt, Chromium, Gold and Silver having been discovered.

Under the MOU, the following initiatives will be explored;

1. Negotiate offtake agreements for MHP for TKR and to assist with the marketing of MHP in the short to medium term;

2. Blackstone to assist CLM in certifying their resources and reserves to JORC standards;

3. Investigate technological solutions to help improve MHP recovery and quality to allow for its sale to global refineries such as TKR;

4. Review CLM’s current operation with an ESG lens and develop necessary actions to meet global expectations;

5. Explore investment opportunities that are mutually beneficial for both parties;

6. Investigate opportunities to identify new regional exploration targets in Laos.

For a video summary of the announcement head to the Blackstone Investor Hub https://investorhub.blackstoneminerals.com.au/link/MrDGQe

About Laos and CLM

Laos has a well-established mining industry that has operated successfully for decades and has significant mineral wealth. Oxiana and Pan Australia were first movers into Laos and built world class mining operations that continue to be operated today. CLM established themselves in Laos in 2009 and were granted ~500km2 area for exploration. Over a 13-year period, CLM explored and applied for a mining license for an area of 69km2 which was granted by the Laos Government in 2022. Development of the Ban Bo Mine started in 2022. Laos has an abundance of renewable energy with several large solar and wind projects in the development pipeline.

Trilateral Co-operation between Laos, Vietnam and Australia

On 10 October 2023, a trilateral workshop between Laos, Vietnam and Australia was held in Hanoi, Vietnam. A key focus for the workshop was how the three countries could work closer together on sharing technologies, exploring investment opportunities and applying the highest ESG standard for developing mines. This MOU brings together the three countries and is perfectly aligned with the intent of the workshop.

Blackstone’s Interest in CLM an Laos

CLM and Blackstone are on the same journey to produce nickel chemicals for the electric vehicle battery industry, all be it at different phases of development and scale. Blackstone has always been interested in securing “locally” supplied nickel feed sources for TKR and increasing our regional nickel footprint. CLM can benefit from Blackstone’s extensive testwork, study development and hydromet processing experience to help CLM climb the value-add curve and participate in the premium end of the nickel chemicals market. In addition to common mining interests, CLM has extensive experience in the construction industry which Blackstone believes could be beneficial for the advancement of the Ta Khoa Project.

Figure 1. Signing of agreement between Cavico, Cavico Laos Mining & Blackstone at Australian Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.

His Excellency Andrew Goledzinowski, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam commented:

“Mining is a promising area for Australia-Vietnam bilateral relations. This partnership builds on the strong Vietnam-Laos and Australia-Laos cooperation in the resources sector. The MOU is a good example of bringing together Australian technology and capability promoting high ESG standards, with Vietnamese mining construction and know-how, to create diversified nickel supply chains. Partnerships like this show the great potential for Australia-Vietnam battery supply chains of the future.”

Cavico Chairman, Bui Quang Ha, commented:

“We value our partnership with Blackstone in mineral mining and refining, which opens up avenues for us to access advanced Australian technology, fostering efficient and environmentally friendly production. Collaborating with Blackstone not only benefits our operations but also strengthens the relationships between Australia, Vietnam, and Laos. We are eager to contribute positively to these connections.”

Blackstone Minerals’ Managing Director, Scott Williamson, commented:

“Blackstone and CLM are aligned on our objective to provide high ESG nickel products to the electric vehicle industry. Blackstone do not see CLM as a competitor, in fact, with the increasing nickel demand for batteries it is quite the opposite, we need more green-nickel producers in the market. The more we can work together to produce low carbon footprint nickel products, the greater the impact we will have on reducing climate change. CLM has an operating mine and is well positioned in Laos, Blackstone has access to capital, technology and expertise to help CLM maximise return from their operation. We are looking forward to working with CLM to explore areas of collaboration.”


Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from Blackstone Minerals, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.

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