Aluminum Copper Lead

Trafigura inks LOI with Blackstone Minerals for potential supply of nickel and cobalt products

Trafigura has signed a letter of interest (LOI) with Blackstone Minerals to potentially supply quantities of nickel and cobalt products that would allow Blackstone Minerals to produce products for the lithium-ion battery industry at its Ta Khoa nickel project, in Vietnam.

Blackstone Minerals said last Friday that the intended arrangement with Trafigura was part of its strategy to upscale its downstream refining business, and its vision to become a significant global supplier of downstream nickel products for the lithium-ion battery industry.

An October scoping study into Blackstone Minerals' Ta Koha project to determine the potential to restart the nickel/copper/platinum project and develop downstream processing infrastructure proved positive.

The base-case four-million-tonne-a-year operation is expected to produce some 12,700t/y of nickel over a mine life of eight-and-a-half years, with the downstream refinery having the ability to process up to 200t/y of concentrate, sourced entirely from the mining operations at Ta Khoa.

Blackstone Minerals intends to upscale the downstream refining business through the staged construction of additional refining capacity, with the refining capacity to be met by materials sourced from third parties.

The company last Friday said that it would commence studies and permitting for the downstream business, in parallel with the completion of a definitive feasibility study, and a pilot and demonstration plant, which will be commissioned in-country.

The pilot and demonstration plant will be used to advance the downstream process flowsheets focused on producing nickel, cobalt and manganese oxide precursor products.