Brett Stephenson: Hello, welcome to The Assay TV. Today we’re joined by Scott Williamson, Managing Director of Blackstone Minerals. Scott has had one of the best days of his life, most likely, and today he’ll be sharing a little bit more information with us.
Scott Williamson: Yeah, so we brought on EcoPro as a major shareholder. EcoPro is the largest cathode manufacturer in South Korea and the second largest cathode manufacturer in the world. I suppose the key thing to remember here is that we’ve done it at a premium to the market, so a 62% premium to the last traded price. So we did the raising at 17 cents, and we’re actually still trading under that price. So a great opportunity for people to buy under the price of our new strategic shareholder in EcoPro.
BS: Oh, terrific. Can you give us more of a sense of who the investor is?
SW: Yeah, so EcoPro, they build the cathode that goes into the lithium-ion battery. So the cathode is made up of nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium. And they feed that cathode into the major battery manufacturers in South Korea, Samsung SDI, and another group called SK Innovation. So their customers are some of the biggest battery manufacturers in the world, and so a really good fit for us. They’re a very entrepreneurial group and they’re on the Korean Stock Exchange, so it’s a listed entity, fairly big growth plans, and so they need a lot of nickel to go into the lithium-ion battery. Yeah, a great partner to have and very long-term focused. The fact that we could do this deal in such a difficult capital market just shows that this group is more focused on a 10 or 20 year view and not too worried about the virus or the current capital market.
BS: Right, indeed. And going more in detail, can you talk more about the details of the agreement?
SW: The agreement is a straight equity placement. EcoPro will add a representative to the board of Blackstone Minerals. The other condition is that we need to exercise the option on the Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam. So we will issue $1 million worth of Blackstone shares to the vendor of the project. So we do need to exercise that before we can finalize this deal. But basically it’s our best endeavor to work together on a partnership to build a downstream processing facility in Northern Vietnam. So the next stage of this relationship or this partnership will be a formal joint venture to build a downstream processing facility to produce the nickel battery product for the cathode. This is only the first stage of what will be, we think, a long-term relationship and a partnership built over many years going forward.
BS: Terrific. And talking about going forward, what are the next steps for the next few quarters?
SW: We now need to deliver the maiden resource for the Ban Phuc DSS which is our first ore body. That’ll be a June, July sort of timeframe. Soon after that we’ll do a scoping study and we’ll throw some numbers into the market, and hopefully that’s a point where the market sort of starts to realize exactly what we’ve got over in Vietnam. But then we’re looking to the next stage of studies, so PFS then into BFS. All this will be funded from this current capital raising.
So this funds us for the next 12 to 18 months of studies. At the same time, we continue to explore through this belt full of nickel. So we’ve got a lot of opportunities to uncover, more nickel. We’ve got this King Cobra discovery, we’ve got Bang Chang, Bang Kang, all these different targets. So we’ll now, I suppose, really open up the geology and get the market excited on potentially some massive sulfate throughout this belt.
BS: Perfect. Well, thank you for joining us today, Scott.
SW: No worries. Thanks for your time.
Find out more at www.blackstoneminerals.com.au