Blackstone Minerals locks-in strategic stake in ASX debutant NiCo Resources

Blackstone Minerals ASX NiCo Resources BSX NC1 nickel
NiCo Resources owns the Central Musgrave project, which hosts one of the world’s largest undeveloped nickel resources.

Aspiring nickel miner and refiner Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has locked-in a strategic stake in fellow nickel play and ASX debutant NiCo Resources (ASX: NC1), which is a spin-out of Metals X (ASX: MLX).

NiCo was admitted to the ASX official list on Monday after raising $12 million in its initial public offering (IPO) via the issue of 60 million shares at $0.20 each.

Its shares are expected to begin trading on Wednesday.

Blackstone invested $2.75 million in NiCo, which gives it a 15.11% holding.

NiCo owns the Central Musgrave project which spans South Australia and Western Australia and includes three exploration licences.

The project has a JORC resource of 215.6 million tonnes at 0.91% nickel for 1.95Mt of contained metal.

Rationale for NiCo investment

According to Blackstone, this is one of the world’s largest undeveloped nickel resources and has generated “significant interest” over the years from major battery metal players including POSCO and Samsung.

“The Central Musgrave project fits into the company’s medium-to-longer term planning horizon, and we are pleased to have secured a strategic equity position at what we consider to be the lowest point in the valuation cycle for the asset,” Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson explained.

“Given the globally significant scale of the Central Musgrave project, we believe its development will be required to support a sustainable transition to the electrification of transportation and energy storage.”

Additionally, the company considers Central Musgrave to be “of particular importance” to growing relationships between Australia and South East Asia.

Metallurgical test work on Central Musgrave ore has shown it can potentially generate high quality cobalt and nickel sulphates, mixed nickel sulphates, mixed nickel/cobalt sulphides, hydroxides, carbonates and scandium.

Tin miner Metals X previously owned Central Musgrave but spun the project out into NiCo earlier this month.

Ta Khoa nickel project

Blackstone is focused on advancing its Ta Khoa nickel project and downstream refinery in Vietnam’s north with plans to sell a pre-cursor battery product to manufacturers in South East Asia.

Last month, Blackstone unveiled a 73% increase to the project’s resources to 485,000t of contained nickel.

The large upgrade was a result of an aggressive drilling program over the past 12 months.

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