Aspiring green nickel producer, Blackstone Minerals’ (ASX: BSX) collaboration with the Vietnamese Government has entered its next phase with drilling to begin at the Chim Van target.
Blackstone revealed it had teamed up with the Vietnamese Government in October last year to identify new nickel opportunities in the region with Chim Van to be the first evaluated.
The company and General Department of Geology and Minerals of Vietnam (GDGMV) have now completed the first phase of collaboration and are ready to advance Chim Van.
Geological modelling of Chim Van indicates it could be similar to Blackstone’s Ban Phuc disseminated sulphide nickel deposit.
Blackstone noted Chim Van also has a magnetic anomaly larger than Ban Phuc.
With initial targeting completed, a drill rig has been mobilised to site begin the first priority hole.
Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said the company was “very pleased” by the ongoing collaboration with GDGMV.
“Drilling will test the conceptual geological and geophysical target at Chim Van for nickel-copper-platinum group element sulphides, and if successful, Blackstone will proceed to take steps to secure an exploration licence.”
“Exploration continues to be a major focus for the company as we look to organically increase our mining inventory available to feed the Ta Khoa refinery.”
Mr Williamson added the company was excited by the potential Chim Van poses to feed its longer-term growth strategy.
Green nickel business
Blackstone owns 90% of the Ta Khoa nickel project in northern Vietnam and plans to establish a mining and vertically integrated downstream refinery operation to produce precursor green battery chemicals for the South East Asian market.
As part of this, Blackstone expects to ensure the integrated operation complies to ESG (environmental, social, governance) standards.
Recently, the integrated project completed its first Digbee ESG assessment, which generated a positive overall score.
“The Digbee ESG assessment is a further demonstration of our commitment to transparent report of our performance and progress as we work to achieve the highest levels of ESG compliance and practice across our operations.”
Mr Williamson added the Digbee score reflects the actions Blackstone has already take to engrain ESG into its business.
“Fund managers and project financiers are linking minimum ESG standards and criteria to their overall investment decision making processes.”
“The work performed by Blackstone to-date as part of the Digbee ESG assessment elevates the attractiveness, types and sources of funding that may be available for the Ta Khoa project,” he said.