Blackstone eyes relevant partners for Ta Khoa nickel venture

BLACKSTONE Resources and potential partners may need to find total funding in the order of US$200 million to build the Ta Khoa nickel operation and downstream sulphate production facility in Vietnam, with the aim being to bring in relevant third parties to minimise the cost to shareholders of the ASX-listed company.
 Blackstone eyes relevant partners for Ta Khoa nickel venture  Blackstone eyes relevant partners for Ta Khoa nickel venture  Blackstone eyes relevant partners for Ta Khoa nickel venture  Blackstone eyes relevant partners for Ta Khoa nickel venture  Blackstone eyes relevant partners for Ta Khoa nickel venture

Previously established infrasture at Ban Phuc, Vietnam

Blackstone MD Scott Williamson gave the broad estimate in response to a question after he presented at the NWR Virtual Resources Conference last week.

Of that total, about $100 million could comprise the cost of the nickel sulphate refinery, with the recent arrival on the Blackstone-scene of South Korean battery company EcoPro a potential case-in-point regarding future funding.

Last month EcoPro invested in Blackstone at a premium and agreed to form an alliance whereby the next stage of the partnership "will be an additional investment via a joint venture agreement to develop the downstream processing infrastructure project".

Upstream, the cost of refurbishing the concentrator and getting a mine underway at Ta Khoa could be $50-100 million, though again, it's very early days in terms of capital estimates.

Meanwhile, Williamson suggested a big plus for Blackstone with the discovery of the King Cobra nickel prospect was the presence of platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium - offering significant potential for by-product credits.

Scoping results and a maiden resource for King Cobra and Ban Phuc at Ta Khoa is expected next quarter.

Shares in Blackstone were trading at A15c this week, capitalising the company at $29 million.