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Blackstone Signs Renewable Energy MOU for the Ta Khoa Project

Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) (“Blackstone” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Limes Renewables Energy S.r.l. (“Limes”) to collaborate on the supply of wind renewable energy to the Company’s Ta Khoa Project (“TKP”) via a direct power purchase agreement (“DPPA”).

Figure 1: Limes’ Managing Director, Cristiano Spillati & Blackstone Executive Lon Taranaki at the MOU signing ceremony in Hanoi

Announcement Highlights:

  • Blackstone and Limes sign MOU to investigate the opportunity to supply renewable energy to the Ta Khoa Project via direct power purchase agreements,
  • Life Cycle Analysis has shown the Project is capable of producing a nickel product with one of the lowest carbon footprints in the industry, with identified pathways to reduce the carbon footprint further with additional studies (refer to ASX announcement 15 September 2022),
  • Son La Province in Vietnam where the project is located has large scale hydro power projects with additional renewable power projects (such as wind) in the pipeline,
  • Vietnamese government is in the process of formulating new legislation to allow power generators to sell directly to end users through DPPA’s,
  • Sourcing 100% renewable energy for the Ta Khoa Project will further reduce the projects carbon footprint by 25%, allowing a pathway to net zero mining and position the Company to meet the growing global demand for low carbon intensity battery raw materials.

For a video summary of the announcement head to the Blackstone Investor Hub here.

Overview of the Memorandum of Understanding

Limes is an independent power producer with a focus on renewable energy. Limes has a global footprint with a number of solar, wind and battery projects underway. Limes is currently advancing a 200 MW wind farm in the province of Son La, Vietnam, where the Ta Khoa Project is located. The Project was recently included in Vietnam’s National Power Master Plan, demonstrating that renewables projects such as this are considered as ‘significant value’ for Vietnam (refer to ASX announcement 15 June 2023).

Blackstone continues its pursuit to be one of the greenest nickel producers in the world. As an extension to its announcement about investigating the carbon capture potential at the Ta Khoa Project via carbon mineralisation (refer to ASX announcement 29 September 2023), the Company has identified it can significantly reduce its carbon footprint further by securing up to 100% renewable power for the Ta Khoa Project (refer to Figure 2). Securing DPPA’s with renewable power suppliers allows for a pathway to net zero mining and positions the Company to meet the growing global demand for low carbon intensity battery raw materials.

The parties have agreed to collaborate on the following initiatives;

  • Direct power purchase agreements: when the new legislation is implemented, negotiate and execute a DPPA for the provision of renewable energy;
  • Permitting and licensing assistance: both companies are operating in Son La and work with the same authorities. Where possible, the companies will assist each other with the permitting, licensing and promotion of their respective projects;
  • Renewable energy optimisation: The parties will work together to develop strategies to allow Blackstone to maximise the use of renewable energy which could include strategies such as energy storage batteries.

The Opportunity

Son La Province, Vietnam, has significant wind potential with a number of large-scale wind projects in preparation that could produce in excess of 1 GW of renewable energy. This coupled with the existing 4.3 GW of hydropower capacity makes Son La a very attractive investment location for projects aiming to be carbon neutral.

The Ta Khoa Project will produce the lowest emission precursor as verified by Minviro and the Nickel Institute. This study was based on the Project sourcing electricity from the Northen Vietnam power grid which has approximately 50% of power supplied from renewable sources.

While the Ta Khoa Project’s nickel products have a low carbon footprint compared to other nickel producers (refer to Figure 3), there are opportunities to reduce this further. As outlined in Figure 2, the Company has the potential to reduce the climate impact of pCAM product further by utilising additional renewable energy. It is forecast that a ~25% reduction in the Project’s carbon footprint could be achieved if 100% renewable power was sourced.

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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