Blackstone Minerals

Exploring Southeast Asia's Premier Nickel-Sulfide District

This Blackstone Minerals profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*


Blackstone Minerals


Countries across the world continue to commit to a more sustainable future. The interest in electric vehicles (EV) continues to grow in tandem with the worldwide drive to reduce carbon. The electrification revolution is driven by critical minerals, with nickel being one of the hidden heroes in the lithium ion battery industry. This critical metal is present in several areas across the world.

Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX,OTC:BLSTF) is an Australian company focused on sustainability in the international battery industry. Its flagship Ta Khoa Nickel Copper PGE Project is located in the Son La Province of Vietnam. The Ban Phuc mine is a rare opportunity to invest in a premier nickel PGE sulfide project to deliver high value nickel sulfate into Asia's rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) industry.

In 2019, the company signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ecopro BM, a global leader in EV battery cathode manufacturing, supporting its flagship endeavour. As of April 2022, Blackstone officialized another MOU, deepening the two-way trade between Australia and Vietnam.

According to Scott Williamson, managing director of the company, “Blackstone’s relationships with local stakeholders continues to grow from strength to strength. I was delighted to present, at our mine site in Son La, the global significance of the Ta Khoa Project. Blackstone’s ambition is to work respectfully and collaboratively with the people of Vietnam to generate significant socio-economic benefits for the communities in which we operate. Vietnam, and the Son La Province, is blessed with mineral potential, excellent infrastructure, loyal people and has all the key ingredients to be at the forefront of the movement towards electrification of transportation.”

The Australian company, Blackstone Minerals, has interest in areas with opportunity for development, with its second property positioned approximately 200 kilometers north of Vancouver in British Columbia. Acquired in October 2017, it has since completed a maiden exploration program with results indicating opportunities for a world-class cobalt belt — another critical mineral.

Company Highlights 

  • Ta Khoa has infrastructure advantages via the existing Ban Phuc mine and processing facilities, access to low-cost, underutilized hydroelectricity, a trained labour force, and support of local government.
  • Ban Phuc is one of 25 nickel sulfide prospects in the highly prospective Blackstone-controlled Ta Khoa Nickel PGE (copper-cobalt) district, Son La Province, Vietnam.
  • Blackstone Minerals’ Downstream Pre-feasibility Study confirms a technically and economically robust hydrometallurgical refining process to upgrade nickel sulfide concentrate to produce battery grade nickel.
  • Advancing an independent scoping study evaluating development options for the Ban Phuc bulk mineable disseminated deposit and adjacent high-grade Nickel PGE (copper-cobalt) prospects.
  • The objective is to produce a high-value nickel sulfate product for the lithium-ion EV battery manufacturing hub being developed in the port city of Hai Phong.
  • Blackstone’s key nickel and cobalt feed stocks for the Ta Khoa Refinery Pilot program were delivered to the metallurgical laboratory in Western Australia as of April 2022.
  • In May 2022, the company appointed GR Engineering as the Tier 1 process engineering, design, and construction company for the Ta Khoa Nickel Project.

Key Projects

Flagship Project: Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE Project

The Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE Project is located 160 kilometers west of Hanoi in the Son La Province of Vietnam. It includes an existing modern nickel mine built to Australian Standards, which is currently under care and maintenance. The Ban Phuc nickel mine successfully operated as a mechanized underground nickel mine from 2013 to 2016.

Blackstone Minerals’ downstream pre-feasibility study confirms a robust hydrometallurgical refining process to upgrade nickel sulfide concentrate that ultimately produces battery grade nickel, cobalt, and manganese, all precursors for the lithium-ion battery industry.

Blackstone Minerals completed a scoping study for the development and restart of the Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE Project. It comprises an open pit mine at the Ban Phuc nickel mine.The disseminated stringer sulphide performs upstream processing and downstream processing to produce a precursor product for the battery market.

This milestone provides 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. Blackstone is focused on developing the Ta Khoa Project and has immediately commenced the next phase of pre-feasibility studies. Its current data measures 3.9Mt of concentrate feed, with average nickel in concentrate grade of 11.5 percent, cobalt in concentrate grade of 0.3 percent and copper in concentrate grade of 1.1 percent.

The base physical analysis shows a refinery capacity of 400ktpa with a 10-year operational projection aligning with the Ban Phuc’s plans and with the availability of known third party concentrate feed. First production is currently targeted in 2024, and is expected to ramp up to steady state operations, currently forecast to be achieved in 2026.

Gold Bridge Project

The Gold Bridge Project is located approximately 200 kilometers northwest of Vancouver, BC. It comprises 367 square kilometers, and was formerly known as the Little Gem Project. Discovered in the 1930’s by prospectors identifying a pink cobalt-bloom on weathered mineralization, it led to the development of three adits. A total of 1,268 meters of drilling was completed from underground and detailed channel sampling was taken from the adits. Results from this work generated some exceptional cobalt and gold assays with average grades of 3.0 percent cobalt and 20g/t gold.

2018 fieldwork saw the discovery of cobalt-gold mineralization at Erebor with concentrations of up to 2.3 percent cobalt, 32 g/t gold, 1.6 percent copper, and 1.1 percent nickel. The large-scale anomaly shows the potential source of high-grade mineralization. The company gathers further area targets from data gathered through the exploration and sampling of stream sediments over the entire 48 km of untried geology for primary cobalt and gold mineralization.

Blackstone completed the 2019 fieldwork with a program of stream sediment sampling, soil sampling, and extensive mapping. It indicates that there is a widespread deep-dispersing sulfide body. Copper, gold, and cobalt anomalies are often distributed inside large structures related to the contact zone between granodiorite and serpentinite.

Blackstone's geological model for the Jewel Prospect, approximately one kilometers north-northeast of the Little Gem prospect. area shows that the copper-gold-cobalt potential mining area is located in a favorable location in the same geological area as the underground mines in the primary cobalt-scale area. Blackstone is actively looking for partners for the Gold Bridge Project

Management Team

Scott Williamson - Managing Director

Scott Williamson is a mining Engineer with a commerce degree from the West Australian School of Mines and Curtin University. He has over 10 years of experience in technical and corporate roles in the mining and finance sectors.

Hamish Halliday - Non-Executive Chairman

Hamish Halliday is a geologist with over 20 years of corporate and technical experience. He is the founder of Adamus Resources, a AU$3 million float which became a multi-million-ounce emerging gold producer.

Alison Gaines - Non-Executive Director

Alison Gaines has over 20 years of experience as a board director internationally and in Australia. She is the managing director of Gaines Advisory and the former CEO of Gerald Daniels, a consulting firm with a significant energy practice. She holds bachelors of laws and bachelors of arts degrees from the University of Western Australia and is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company director and holds the INSEAD certificate for corporate governance.

Dr. Frank Bierlin - Non-Executive Director

Dr. Frank Bierlin is a mine geologist and mineral economist with over 25 years of experience with a focus on gold and nickel exploration, instrumental in three significant gold discoveries north of Kalgoorlie. His experience includes serving as executive director of Venture Mineralsand co-lead the discovery of the Mount Lindsay tin-tungsten-magnetite deposits. Dr. Bierlin has a doctoral degree in geology from University of Melbourne and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG). He is a member of the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and the Society of Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits

Horim Jung - Non-Executive Director

Horim Jung has approximately 10 years of experience in financial management, especially in capital raising and feasibility studies for new projects. His career began at KPMG Samjong Auditing Firm, one of the 'big four' auditing firms in Korea, providing consulting services for various mergers and acquisitions. Jung then moved to Atinum Partners, where he was involved in oil and gas investments and management of investment properties in North America. In 2016 he joined EcoPro, where he secured the financial source for the precursor business from foreign investors, as well as successfully traded the initial public offering of subsidiary EcoPro BM (KOSDAQ: 247540). Jung possesses capabilities in corporate strategy, fundraising, and business development. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Seoul National University and a degree from the Institute of Economics. Jung is also a Korean Certified Public Accountant (KICPA).

Jamie Byrde - CFO and Company Secretary

Jamie Byrde has over 16 years of experience in corporate consulting, working in public and private company management since starting his career with a top-tier firm. Byrde specializes in financial management, ASX and ASIC compliance, and corporate governance of mineral and resource focused public companies. Byrde is also the secretary of Venture Minerals.

Dr. Stuart Owen - Mineral Exploration Team Leader

Dr. Stuart Owen has a bachelor’s of science degree and a doctoral degree in geology with over 20 years of experience in mineral exploration. He was the senior geologist in the team that discovered the Paulsens Mine and served as an exploration manager at Adamus discovered the Southern Ashanti gold deposits. At Venture, Dr. Owen discovered the Mt Lindsay tin-tungsten-magnetite deposits.

Andrew Strickland - Project Development Team Leader

Andrew Strickland will lead development of Ta Khoa. He is an experienced study and project manager, a fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Strickland has a master’s of business administration degree, with undergraduates in chemical engineering and extractive metallurgy from Curtin and the West Australian School of Mines. Previously, he was senior study manager for GR Engineering Services, where he was responsible for delivering a series of scoping and feasibility studies for Australian and international projects. Strickland has a history of developing mining and metals projects across different commodities and jurisdictions, as well as a broad understanding and experience in minerals processing, project management, and corporate strategy.

Tessa Kutscher - Executive

Tessa Kutscher is an experienced research and project manager, Member of the Australian Institute of Mines and Metallurgy, holds an master of business administration and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and metallurgy from Curtin University and Western Australian School of Mines (WASM). Prior to joining Blackstone, Kutscher was a senior research manager at GR Engineering, undertaking a range of scope and pre-feasibility studies for both Australian and international projects. Kutscher brings extensive experience with metal and mining projects of a wide range of commodities including base metals, precious metals, industrial minerals, and iron ore. She also has a broad knowledge and experience in developing all aspects of mining projects including geology, mine design optimization and planning, process infrastructure and non-process infrastructure design, approval environment and licensing, marketing, project estimation, project financial analysis, and funding.

Vũ Hồng Cấm Vân - General Manager, Commercial

Vũ Hồng Cấm Vân is the general manager, commercial and will be responsible for managing all business and financials, external affairs and communications in Vietnam relating to the Ta Khoa Project in conjunction with the general manager operations and general manager project development. Vũ Hồng Cấm Vân joined Ban Phuc Nickel Mines in 2006 and has successfully performed in several roles transitioning from senior environment officer to health, safety, and environment management, corporate social responsibility manager, as well as government affairs director. Vũ Hồng Cấm Vân holds a bachelor’s of science degree in environment management from the Ha Noi National University and master’s of science degree from the Ha Noi National University.

Patrick Chang - Business Development Team Leader

Patrick Chang was previously the corporate development officer of the ASX-listed Medusa Mining (ASX:MML) gold company. During his two years in office, Chang was responsible for the identification, assessment and implementation of business development opportunities, along with the management of investment relationships. Prior to Medusa, he spent more than seven years at Argonaut and Canaccord Genuity as a resources analyst, specializing in nickel and precious metals. Chang holds a master of science degree in geology, a master's degree in computer science, and is a professional financial analyst. He is fluent in English and Mandarin, and has a good understanding of Vietnamese.

Tony Tang - General Manager of Process and Technology Development

Tony Tang is a graduate of Curtin University, is a registered professional member of FAusIMM (CP), and has worked in the resources sector for over 25 years. His experience includes laboratory, operation, technical consulting, project development, research, engineering service contract procurement, and construction management (EPCM). Tang has a proven track record of maintaining capital and trust.Tang has been with Murrin Murrin Operations for nearly a decade, where he was involved in plant commissioning, operation, optimization and ongoing research and development projects. Since 2007, he has worked with leading engineering consulting firms, extending his technical insight into research, detailed design, and project implementation. Tang has led many complex chemical processing projects including Rare earth, lithium, gold, nickel, cobalt, scandium, and mineral sand.

*Disclaimer: This profile is sponsored by Blackstone Minerals ( BSX:AU ). This profile provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Blackstone Minerals in order to help investors learn more about the company. Blackstone Minerals is a client of INN. The company's campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this profile.

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The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Blackstone Minerals and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

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