Australia-listed Blackstone Minerals has agreed to acquire a 90 per cent stake in Vietnam-based Ta Khoa Nickel Project from Canadian investor AMR Nickel Limited.
The Australian firm has entered into a 12-month option period that will see Blackstone Minerals settle quarterly payments of $100,000 and exercise of the option by issuing A$1 million of ordinary fully paid shares.
Located 160 kilometres west of Hanoi, the project includes the Ban Phuc nickel mine which is currently under maintenance. The location is near the new northern manufacturing hub, Hai Phong, where LG Chem and Vietnamese automaker VinFast have set up their factories.
Blackstone Minerals said AMR Nickel had invested more than $136 million in Ta Khoa and generated $213 million in revenue during a 3.5-year period of falling nickel prices.
The resources mining firm, which operates the BC Cobalt Project in western Canada, said the Ta Khoa acquisition will substantially enhance its battery mineral focused asset base, and it will investigate the potential to develop downstream processing infrastructure in Vietnam to cater to Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Blackstone to acquire a 90 per cent interest in a project that has a history of profitable nickel production even during low nickel prices. Blackstone will be the first company to explore Ta Khoa for both massive sulfide vein and disseminated sulfide nickel sulfide deposits,” commented Scott Williamson, the firm’s managing director.
The Vietnamese government has recently lifted some obstacles for overseas companies to invest in its mining industry, reducing the mining licence grant fee for new nickel mines by half, announcing a new-generation foreign direct investment orientation strategy until 2030, and committing to eliminating existing export taxes.
The Ban Phuc Nickel mine was specifically identified as a project of national significance, Blackstone said.