Blackstone Minerals Ltd has appointed GR Engineering Services Ltd (GRES) as the primary consultant in the delivery of the Upstream Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for its Ta Khoa nickel project (TKNP), in Vietnam.
As the primary consultant, GRES will focus on the delivery of major workstreams including process infrastructure, metallurgical test work and co-disposal tailings storage. GRES will also coordinate, collaborate with and collate information from other key workstreams including mining studies, Blackstone said.
Blackstone says GRES has a proven track record and relevant experience to deliver the TKNP DFS, having completed a DFS for OZ Minerals on its West Musgrave nickel project and completed engineering, procurement and construction work on the Cosmos Expansion project (Western Areas Ltd), the Nova Nickel project (now IGO Ltd), the Cosmic Boy nickel project (Western Areas) and the Sinclair nickel project (now Northern Star Resources Ltd).
Further, GRES provides full life-cycle engineering services from feasibility studies through to delivery of projects under both EPC and engineering, procurement and construction management models, Blackstone said.
Scott Williamson, Blackstone Managing Director, said: “GRES adds to an already impressive team of engineers that are contributing to the design and development of the Ta Khoa Project.
“Blackstone continues to de-risk its development strategy both from a technical and funding perspective, and looks forward to updating the market as we take key steps towards a final investment decision.”
The TKNP is 160 km west of Hanoi in the Son La Province of Vietnam and includes an existing modern nickel mine built to Australian standards, which is currently being used to process nickel ore delivered by the underground bulk sample program, the company said. The Ban Phuc nickel mine successfully operated as a mechanised underground nickel mine from 2013 to 2016.
In February 2022, Blackstone completed a prefeasibility study for the TKNP, and presented this on an integrated basis with the proposed Ta Khoa Refinery (TKR) development. The TKR is being designed to have a refining capacity of 400,000 t/y, with feedstock provided from a combination of concentrate from the TKNP and third-party feed sources.