The Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project is located 160 km west of Hanoi in the Son La Province of Vietnam and includes an existing modern nickel mine built to Australian standards, which is currently under care and maintenance. The Ban Phuc nickel mine successfully operated as a mechanised underground nickel mine from 2013 to 2016.
The Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project
Previous project owners invested more than US$136m in capital and generated US$213m in revenue during a 3.5-year period of falling nickel prices. The project was placed into care and maintenance in mid-2016 during some of the lowest nickel prices in the past 10 years.
Existing infrastructure associated with the project includes an internationally-designed 450 ktpa processing plant connected to local hydro grid power with a fully-permitted tailings facility and a modern 250-person camp.
Above: Fully operational 250-person campsite
Since commencing maiden drilling in August 2019, Blackstone has made significant progress at Ta Khoa, drilling over 9,000 m of diamond core in more than 47 holes into the Ban Phuc DSS deposit and the highly prospective King Cobra discovery zone. An initial scoping study evaluating mining and processing options is well advanced, including potential in country downstream processing to deliver high value nickel sulfate into Asia’s rapidly expanding electric vehicle (EV) industry. The recently announced MOU with Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest EV battery cathode manufacturer, Ecopro BM Co Limited represents a significant step toward making this a reality.
Above: Internationally-designed 450 ktpa processing plant
Blackstone’s drilling of the Ban Phuc DSS to date includes the following significant results (see ASX announcements dated 17th September 2019, 16th October 2019, 18th December 2019 and 20th January 2020 for full details):
|From (m)||To (m)||Interval (m)||Ni (%)||Pt+Pd+Au (g/t)|
Above: Drilling underway at Ta Khoa, where four rigs are currently operational