Blackstone Minerals Ltd has announced the inclusion of Metso as the technology supplier for the definitive feasibility study of the company’s pCAM (precursor cathode active material) processing plant in its Ta Khoa refinery in Vietnam.
Metso is already involved in the design of the pCAM plant and will also conduct independent pCAM test work to validate the nickel and cobalt sulphates generated during the pilot program for suitability in pCAM generation, the OEM says.
Metso is currently designing the pCAM plant with Wood, providing experience and engineering technical support.
Scott Williamson, Managing Director at Blackstone Minerals Ltd, said: “Blackstone intends to leverage off Metso’s engineering services and know-how into the pCAM facility design, thus de-risking the project and confirming Blackstone’s intent to be a real player in the pCAM space. Securing another world leader to the Ta Khoa project is yet another jigsaw piece in the battery value chain puzzle. Blackstone continues to look forward to project success as it marches towards developing the greenest and most resilient nickel business in the world.”
Blackstone highlighted the OEM’s high value technology in the context of the pCAM facility design, such as the modular OKTOP® reactors (with industrial references for scaling-up pCAM precipitation processes), Larox® filtration technologies and Courier® HX continuous product quality analyser equipment to enable precision control and real-time optimisation.
“Metso has shown that precursors precipitated with OKTOP reactor technology are proven to meet the required chemical and physical properties for high-performance cathode active material,” it said.
Rudi Rautenbach, Director, Minerals Sales, Asia-Pacific, Metso, said: “We are confident that our experience in nickel processing and battery metals technologies will contribute positively to the project. Many of our offerings that are planned to be used in this project are selected from our range of Planet Positive products, which are demonstrably more energy or water efficient than the industry benchmark or Metso’s previous generation products in the market, to help our customers cut their CO2 emissions and/or to achieve other sustainability priorities. We believe these are all in line with Blackstone’s objectives towards developing the greenest and most resilient nickel business in the world.”
Metso says it provides sustainable technology and equipment for the entire lithium, nickel, and cobalt production chain from the mine to battery materials and black mass recycling with project scopes ranging from equipment packages to plant deliveries. Metso has its own pCAM testing facilities.
A February 2022 prefeasibility study on the 90%-owned Ta Khoa project outlined first concentrate production in in 2025, ramping up to nameplate design of 8 Mt/y in 2027. It expected a steady-state average annual nickel output (recovered in concentrate) of circa-18,000 t/y and steady-state average annual concentrate production of circa-225,000 t/y. The project also came with a steady-state refining capacity of 400,000 t/y, with first production of NCM811 precursor material commencing in early 2025.