Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX: BSX / OTCQX: BLSTF / FRA: B9S) is focused on building an integrated upstream and downstream battery metals processing business in Vietnam that produces NCM Precursor products for Asia’s growing Lithium-ion battery industry.
The Company will produce the lowest emission precursor as verified by Minviro and the Nickel Institute. The existing business has a modern nickel mine built to Australian standards, which successfully operated as a mechanised underground nickel mine from 2013 to 2016. This will be complemented by a larger concentrator, refinery and precursor facility to support integrated production in-country. To unlock the flowsheet, the Company is focused on a partnership model and is collaborating with groups who are committed to sustainable mining, minimising carbon footprint and implementing a fully vertically integrated supply chain to support the six foundational elements of our Green Nickel™ strategy:
Nickel Sulfide Orebodies: In comparison to other nickel ores such as laterites, nickel sulfide ore requires minimal processing input. It is specifically suitable for upgrading through mineral beneficiation processes such as froth flotation. A simpler downstream refinery flowsheet is another element of nickel sulfide given it generates its own acid and heat and does not require significant production inputs.
Pressure Oxidation Leach Flowsheet: Blackstone’s refinery will use Pressure Oxidisation Technology to provide the least energy intensive process. Relative to other nickel project technologies, such as High-Pressure Acid Leach and Pyrometallurgy, Blackstone’s approach is a cost effective and proven process for extraction.
Vertically Integrated Value Chain: Sourcing the raw material and building processing facilities in Vietnam to produce a final Precursor product for Asia’s growing Lithium-ion battery and Electric Vehicle industries results in a product which has travelled a far shorter distance by the time it reaches the customer. The environmental footprint is therefore reduced.
Renewable Power: Blackstone aims to develop a project that works towards net zero-carbon emissions. A key method in our strategy is to utilise nearby hydroelectric power sources. Our current operations source power from the biggest hydropower plant in Southeast Asia: Son La Hydro Electric Dam.
Fossil Fuel Replacement: Wherever practicable, Blackstone will identify opportunities for fossil fuel replacement. As evidenced in our Life Cycle Assessment results, the electrification of vehicles onsite to replace diesel transport options offers a tangible reduction in the emissions associated with our final product. Further, Blackstone intends to conduct a green hydrogen study to understand the opportunities for using a hydrogen fleet. Local fabrication and goods, where possible, in addition to the considered design of the sites, will allow for a reduction in the use of transport required.
Corporate Commitment to ESG: The final element of our Green Nickel™ strategy is seen through our overall activities and commitments to ESG as a business imperative, where operating our business ethically and establishing good governance at all levels is our highest priority. In the past year, we’ve placed a focus on putting our values into action to ensure practical application when establishing our processes and practices across our operations.