Broadly speaking, VTRE has a rare earth element refinery in Vietnam while Blackstone has a beneficiation plant and ASM a binding agreement with VTRE (signed in April) for the purchase of rare earth oxides from Vietnam (to be used as feedstock at its metals plant in Korea).
Blackstone and VTRE are to assess existing REE licensed concessions and look to secure the mining licenses, with the immediate focus being on a mining licence for one of the "world-class Dong Pao deposits".
Blackstone will allow VTRE access to the company's laboratory and piloting facilities located at the Ta Khoa nickel project at Ban Phuc nickel mines and with technical assistance from ASM to conduct a pilot flotation program for the beneficiation of REE concentrates from the Dong Pao deposit.
Blackstone, VTRE and ASM will also explore a commercial model that can support a fully integrated mine to metals rare earth business.
Blackstone said its focus remained on completion of the Ta Khoa refinery definitive feasibility study for producing battery inputs.
Shares in Blackstone were up 4% to A12.5c in morning trade, capitalising it at $59 million.
ASM shares were up 1% to $1.18, capitalising it at $197 million.