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Blackstone Minerals produces battery-grade NCM811 precursor sample on path to downstream value-add

Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX:BSX) (OTCMKTS:BLSTF) (FRA:B9S) has produced the first batch of battery-grade Nickel:Cobalt:Manganese 811 (NCM811) precursor sample, as it aims to provide batteries for Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry. NCM811 is a type of battery using an 8:1:1 ratio of nickel, cobalt and manganese with Blackstone’s first precursor sample achieving an NCM purity of in excess of 99.7%. It is the latest piece of encouraging news for Blackstone, which on Thursday also confirmed that the pre-feasibility study for its flagship Ta Khoa Refinery Project in northern Vietnam would be released on Monday, July 26, 2021. This news has also seen the company’s shares rise 7.8% today to A$0.415, the highest point since the end of March 2021 while the market cap is approximately A$127.8 million. Big leap for Blackstone Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said the precursor sample marked an important moment for the company. “The production of high purity NCM811 precursor is an important milestone for the company as we take the next steps towards our ambition to become a globally significant producer of Class I nickel products for the lithium-ion battery industry,” he said. Blackstone’s focus is on building an integrated upstream and downstream processing business in Vietnam that produces NCM precursor products for the industry, which is experiencing rapid growth in the Asia market. “The much-anticipated PFS for Ta Khoa will be a major catalyst for the next phase and growth and development for the company,” Williamson added. NCM811 precursor production NCM811 precursor sample was produced in Simulus Engineer’s lab using a nickel concentrate blend that includes material from Blackstone’s Ban Phuc disseminated sulphide ore body and other third-party feed sources. The chemical analysis of the first batch precipitate for other impurities have met battery-grade specifications: Ca <100, all 4 meet specification; Cu < 10, all 4 meet specification; Cr < 10, all 4 meet specification; Mg <100, 1 of 4 below (meets) specification; and Zn <10, all 4 meet specification. Next steps The PFS, due to be released on July 26, coincides with what Blackstone is calling the ‘Blackstone Nickel Day’, an opportunity for investors to get up close and personal with Blackstone management. Williamson and Blackstone head of exploration Dr Stuart Owen will provide a company update, including exploration progress and downstream business developments; Blackstone’s technical team will give an update on the Downstream PFS and project delivery for the company’s flagship Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE Project in Vietnam; and the corporate development team will give an update on nickel demand and supply trends driving the company’s strategy. Investors can register for the webinar at this link, and also have the opportunity to book in one-on-one meetings at this link. – Daniel Paproth

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