What has happened?
Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) announced a corporate strategy update in light of the recent Ta Khoa exploration success and driven by the strong indicative demand received for the Company’s planned downstream products. In the update, the Company also announced that the ongoing Pre-Feasibility Study is now considering significantly expanding their downstream refining capacity. The Company also confirmed that separate Pre-Feasibility Studies (PFS) would be delivered for its upstream and downstream business assets.
What are the key highlights?
In regards to the downstream PFS updates, the highlights were:
- Blackstone highlighted that key aspects the downstream PFS will consider are, expanding the planned refining capacity, which should enable the treatment of both third party concentrate and Blackstone’s potential orebodies within the Ta Khoa district in Northern Vietnam.
- The Company also indicated that the PFS was considering enhancing the scale and shared infrastructure, which the Company anticipates will lead to a reduction in project capital intensity and a decrease in unit operating costs driven by economies of scale and improved refinery performances due to the ability to blend concentrates.
- Lastly, the PFS will consider the flowsheet for the recovery of additional by-products. Preliminary test work and desktop studies have identified an economic flowsheet for the recovery of by-products from the Ta Khoa DSS concentrate. Further studies will investigate the performance of Ta Khoa Massive Sulfide Vein (MSV) ores and provide PFS level capital and operating cost estimates.
- Blackstone anticipates the downstream PFS to be completed by June / July 2021.
In regards to the upstream PFS updates, the highlights were:
- The Company noted that the upstream PFS would focus on incorporating high-grade MSV deposits into the mine plan to reflect ongoing exploration success at multiple prospects, including Ban Chang, King Snake and Ta Cuong. The Company is aggressively drilling with a view to incorporate these deposits into the upstream PFS mining inventory.
- Another major item on Blackstone’s upstream PFS is to investigate the potential restart and possible expansion of the existing 450ktpa concentrator, which will be supported by the inclusion of higher grade feed into the mine plan. This has the potential to improve project NPV through deferral of significant upfront capital, mine life extension, and lower technical risks.
- Lastly, the PFS will seek to cover the drilling out and appropriate mine sequencing of large, disseminated sulphide (DSS) orebodies, including Ban Phuc and Ban Khoa.
- Blackstone anticipates the upstream PFS to be delivered in Q3/Q4 2021, allowing for the sufficient completion of drilling to incorporate DSS and MSV prospects.