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Blackstone connects battery resources through NICO purchase

Blackstone Minerals has made a lightning bolt strategic investment in laterite nickel by rolling A$2.75m into NICO Resources’ IPO to gain a 15.11 per cent interest in the battery minerals hopeful that last year picked up Metals X’ massive Central Musgrave project that spans both WA and South Australia. With a serious nickel metal endowment of some 1.95m tonnes, Blackstone says it is likely one of the largest undeveloped nickel resources globally.

NICO’s Initial Public Offering was successfully completed on the 17th of January 2021, underlining the market’s renewed interest in nickel laterites.

Blackstone says with the current lack of serious nickel sulphide discoveries, the major players will inevitably start to turn to laterite nickel deposits to feed the global demand for lithium-ion batteries that contain more nickel than lithium.

It says previous interest from in the Central Musgrave project by big players such as South Korea’s mining and manufacturing giants Posco and Samsung underlines its value as a major strategic nickel asset.

Interestingly it also contains significant quantities of high-quality cobalt and scandium.

The Central Musgrave Project fits into the Company’s medium to longer term planning horizon, and we are pleased to have secured a strategic equity position at what we consider to be the lowest point in the valuation cycle for the asset. Given the globally significant scale of the Central Musgrave project, we believe its development will be required to support a sustainable transition to the electrification of transportation and energy storage.

Located on Pitjantjatjara land in rocky outcrops standing proudly between the mighty Gibson Desert to the north and the massive Great Victoria Desert to the south, the Central Musgraves are a treasure trove of mineral wealth and if Nico can work out a successful processing route for the laterite ore, it will have no shortage of resources to draw from.

In late 2019 Blackstone acquired the Ta Khoa Nickel Project just outside of Hanoi, North Vietnam. Whilst it is planning to develop its own nickel mine at the project, Blackstone is also looking to get into downstream processing in Vietnam. Placing the edge of its foot on a nickel deposit that could likely feed its proposed nickel refinery in Vietnam for ever is a strategic move for the nickel focussed ASX-listed Blackstone.

Blackstone also holds substantial exploration leases in British Columbia in the Rocky Mountains of Canada’s western seaboard. Recent intersections of copper, nickel and cobalt there are considered proof-of-concept for Blackstone and exploration will continue as the company believes its leases hold potential to host a world class cobalt belt.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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