Blackstone Minerals Limited, an Australian mining company, announces it has signed a MoU with Korea’s largest electric vehicle (ev) battery cathode manufacturer, Ecopro BM Co Limited. Both parties will work in partnership to develop a downstream processing facility in association with Blackstone’s Ta Khoa Nickel Project in northern Vietnam.
The Ta Khoa Nickel Project is located in the Son La province and includes the Ban Phuc nickel mine with a 450,000-tonne-per-year concentrator, built to Australian Standards. Currently, the mine is undergoing maintenance. To serve the growing demand for nickel and cobalt of Asia’s growing lithium ion battery industry, Blackstone is investigating the potential to restart the existing nickel mine through focused exploration on both massive sulfide veins (MSV) and disseminated sulfide (DSS) deposits.
Blackstone was looking to engage a development partner to provide funding to commercialize the Vietnam-project and Ecopro has indicated its willingness to enter an alliance and to formalize a downstream processing infrastructure project in association with the Ta Khoa Nickel Project. The goal is to develop a suitable nickel, cobalt or other battery mineral product for lithium-ion battery manufacturing.
Blackstone Minerals Managing Director Scott Williamson commented: “We are pleased to announce an MOU with Korea’s largest cathode manufacturer. Our Ta Khoa Nickel Project has significant potential to deliver the critical raw materials required for Ecopro’s cathode manufacturing process and meet the ever-increasing demand for high-nickel content cathodes driven by the imminent electric vehicle (EV) revolution. “We look forward to finalizing a formal agreement with Ecopro over the coming months. In the meantime, we continue the exploration and development of our flagship Ta Khoa Nickel Project in northern Vietnam.”