TA KHOA NICKEL PROJECT
We are focused on building an integrated upstream and downstream battery metals processing business at Ta Khoa that produces Nickel: Cobalt: Manganese (NCM) Precursor products for Asia’s growing Lithium-ion battery industry.
We own a 90% interest in Ta Khoa, 160km west of Hanoi in the Son La Province of Vietnam. Ta Khoa includes an existing modern nickel mine built to Australian standards, which we are using to process nickel ore delivered by our underground bulk sample program.
The nickel mine successfully operated as a mechanised underground mine from 2013 to 2016. The Ta Khoa Nickel Project and Ta Khoa Refinery are the two major cogs in our vertically integrated development strategy (together – the Ta Khoa Project).
Our development strategy is underpinned by our ability to secure nickel concentrate. Ta Khoa is emerging as a nickel sulfide district of enviable scale with several exploration targets yet to be tested.
Upstream Business – Our Mine
In February 2022, we completed an Upstream Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for the Ta Khoa Nickel Project and presented this on an integrated basis with the proposed Ta Khoa Refinery development.
Ta Khoa Nickel Project aims to provide high levels of reliability and security of nickel supply for the Ta Khoa Refinery. To achieve this objective, the Pre-Feasibility Study determined that a larger beneficiation plant would enable capture of a higher proportion of our flagship Ban Phuc disseminated sulfide deposit. Ta Khoa’s beneficiation plant would then be supplemented with feed from the Ban Chang and King Snake underground massive sulfide vein deposits.
Our ability to produce ~50% concentrate feed for the Ta Khoa Refinery underpins project economics.
Ta Khoa Nickel Project Upstream PFS Announcement
Towards Zero Carbon Presentation — Upstream PFS
Integrated Ta Khoa Project Physicals
Ta Khoa Nickel Project first concentrate production on track for 2025, ramping up to nameplate design of 8.0Mtpa in 2027
Ta Khoa Nickel Project steady state average annual nickel output (recovered in concentrate) of ~18ktpa and annual concentrate production of ~225ktpa
Integrated Ta Khoa Project modelled assuming a life-of-operation for the Ta Khoa Refinery of 10.3 years
o Ta Khoa Refinery steady state refining capacity of 400ktpa, with first production of NCM811
Precursor commencing in early 2025
o ~50% of total concentrate supply from the Ta Khoa Nickel Project, resulting in some
stockpiling of Ta Khoa Nickel Project concentrate and refinery – life extension
Base Case Economics
Average nickel metal price and NCM 811 Precursor price applied to the Ta Khoa valuation of US$20,000/t nickel and US$17,670/t NCM811 respectively, both well below spot prices as of Feb 2022
Total Ta Khoa pre-production capital of US$854m
Maximum cash drawdown of ~US$771m incurred in 2025
Payback period for the Ta Khoa Project of 1.8 years from first production by the Ta Khoa Refinery
Average annual operating cash flow of US$533m
Life-of-operations All-in-Sustaining Cost of US$12,253/t NCM811
Life-of-operations All-in Cost of US$13,192/t NCM811
Post-tax NPV8 of US$1.99bn and an internal rate of return of 47%
Pilot Plant testing and Definitive Feasibility Studies are underway and will continue to technically de-risk the Ta Khoa Project. At both the mine and refinery level, Blackstone is focused on a partnership model and is collaborating with groups who are focused on sustainable mining, minimising carbon footprint and implementing a fully vertically integrated supply chain.