Blackstone ticks more boxes for nickel project in Vietnam

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Blackstone Minerals ticked more boxes during its definitive feasibility phase for the company’s green nickel project in Vietnam. A series of works have been completed including bench testing, design, procurement, assembly and commissioning of equipment, in addition to the successful conversion of a mixed hydroxide precipitate to metal sulphate .

This year, Blackstone announced the appointment of prime consultants to provide definitive feasibility studies for the company’s Ta Khoa nickel project and planned Ta Khoa refinery.

Together, its nickel project and proposed refinery form Blackstone’s flagship vision to create an integrated upstream and downstream battery metal processing business in Vietnam, producing precursor products for the Asian lithium-ion battery industry. fast growing.

The completion of a recent bench test work program has successfully confirmed an improved process flow diagram for the refinery project and the data collected has been used to update the plant design criteria.

Design, procurement and assembly of pilot equipment was completed, followed by the successful commissioning of all unit operations, from the re-leaching of mixed hydroxide precipitates to the production of metal sulphates battery quality.

Blackstone’s initial review of the refinery flowsheet also confirmed its ability to convert a third-party mixed hydroxide precipitate into battery-grade metal sulphate. The program will allow the company to potentially pursue staged development using third-party streams and, in fact, reduce start-up costs.

The next steps in the trial will be to produce a mixed hydroxide precipitate from a nickel concentrate feedstock before converting it to battery-grade metal sulfate in preparation for the company’s end product – a precursor cathode.

Blackstone expects to complete its refinery pilot program in the last quarter of the year.

On the front of its nickel mine – where it plans to source raw nickel ore – Blackstone says key components continue to grow in line with the company’s strategy.

A pilot plant was also built and processing test work began earlier this month.

Lead consultants working on the nickel project have made several trips to the mine site to support ongoing test work and have confirmed the suitability of Vietnam’s piloting equipment and facilities to provide data for the study.

In addition, other regrind and flotation pilot equipment was purchased.

The success of these respective pilot programs demonstrates our commitment to developing competitive and flexible flowsheets to meet future battery market needs.

In keeping with the company’s commitment to producing “green” nickel, Blackstone engaged the University of British Columbia to conduct a study evaluating the project’s ability to capture carbon through carbon mineralization.

The study demonstrated that waste and tailings from the mine are rich in carbon absorbing minerals and can capture up to 8.3 grams of carbon dioxide per kilogram of tailings.

Notably in March, Vietnam decreed that registration fees for battery-powered cars for the next three years will be free and the fees for the following two years will drop to only half the cost of registering a battery-powered car. petrol or diesel.

Similar incentives for the promotion of electric vehicles have been rolled out in other Southeast Asian countries as the region eagerly awaits its cutting-edge mode of transport.

A report released this year by the International Energy Agency says 16.5 million electric cars were on the road in 2021, a total that has tripled in just three years.

With several gears turning at once, it looks like Blackstone Minerals is now ramping up development on its flagship project, but it will be interesting to see if it can manage to catch the impending EV revolution wave.

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