Blackstone Minerals appoints contractor for upstream DFS at Ta Khoa nickel project

Blackstone Minerals ASX BSX Ta Khoa nickel GR Engineering Services Upstream Definitive Feasibility Study DFS Vietnam
GR Engineering Services has previously worked on major nickel projects including West Musgrave (OZ Minerals), Cosmos (Western Areas), and Nova (IGO).

Advanced explorer Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has appointed tier one process engineering, design and construction company GR Engineering Services (GRES) to deliver an upstream definitive feasibility study for its flagship Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam.

GRES will focus on the completion of major workstreams including process infrastructure, metallurgical testwork and co-disposal tailings storage, as well as other key areas such as mining studies.

The company has completed similar contracts on nickel projects owned by OZ Minerals (ASX: OZL) at West Musgrave; Western Areas (ASX: WSA) at Cosmos and Cosmic Boy; IGO (ASX: IGO) at Nova; and Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST) at Sinclair.

Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson welcomed the GRES appointment.

“We are delighted that GRES will drive the delivery of our upstream definitive feasibility study, adding to an impressive team of engineers contributing to the design and development of the Ta Khoa project,” he said.

“We continue to de-risk our development strategy from a technical and funding perspective, and look forward to updating the market as we take key steps towards a final investment decision.”

Integrated business

Blackstone is focused on building an integrated upstream and downstream battery metals processing business which produces NCM (nickel-manganese-cobalt) precursor products for Asia’s growing lithium-ion industry.

The company owns a 90% interest in the Ta Khoa project including an existing modern nickel mine built to Australian standards which is currently being used to process nickel ore delivered by an underground bulk sample program.

Mr Williamson said the project and the Ta Khoa refinery are two major cogs in a vertically-integrated development strategy underpinned by an area which is emerging as a “nickel sulphide district of enviable scale” with several exploration targets yet to be tested.

In February, Blackstone completed an expanded pre-feasibility study for Ta Khoa, presented on an integrated basis with the proposed refinery which is designed to have a capacity of 400,000 tonnes per annum with feedstock provided from Ta Khoa and third-party sources.

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