Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has secured what it describes as “globally renowned” experts Wood and ALS to lead the company’s definitive feasibility study (DFS) and pilot plant for its proposed Ta Khoa downstream refinery in Vietnam.
Wood has been awarded the contract to act as lead engineering consultant for the DFS.
According to Blackstone, Wood is recognised as a leading hydrometallurgical group with “vast experience” in delivery of pressure oxidation technology.
The company has offices in Vietnam and Thailand and is cognisant of regulatory requirements in South East Asia.
Wood provides full life-cycle engineering services from scoping studies through to DFS and project execution.
Pilot plant phase one
In addition to contracting Wood, Blackstone has secured ALS’ services to lead the pilot one phase one development.
Blackstone said ALS is a global leader in metallurgical testing – selecting ALS based on its previous work similar to that required for the Ta Khoa refinery.
Under the deal with Blackstone, ALS will undertake a metallurgical test work program that will generate data required for the final refinery design in the DFS.
Concentrate samples from the Ban Phuc mine as well as third parties will be provided for evaluation.
The pilot plant phase one work will be carried out at ALS’ Perth-based laboratories in Western Australia.
Test work will involve two campaigns with the first to be a continuous pilot plant that generates a mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) intermediate product from blended concentrate.
The second campaign will comprise a continuous pilot plant to produce battery grade nickel: cobalt: manganese product NCM811 from MHP.
Ta Khoa nickel project
Commenting on the new contracts, Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said the work Wood and ALS undertake will build on the “compelling” pre-feasibility study released in July.
“Blackstone is confident in delivering a DFS that boasts the highest technical rigour, ready by the middle of next year to align with critical financing milestones, including supply and customer offtakes as well as debt financing,” he added.
Blackstone plans on becoming an integrated miner and producer of battery metals for South East Asia’s lithium-ion market.
Ore is proposed to be mined from the company’s Ta Khoa nickel-copper-PGE project in Vietnam’s north and third parties.