ASX-listed, Blackstone Minerals has teamed up with leading supply chain “traceability” provider, Circulor to launch a nickel and cathode precursor traceability system for its Ta Khao nickel operations in Vietnam. The collaboration will empower Blackstone to demonstrate its compliance with environmental, social and governance sustainability metrics, stretching from its mining operations through to the refined final products.
ASX-listed, Blackstone Minerals has teamed up with leading supply chain “traceability” provider, Circulor to launch a nickel and cathode precursor traceability system for its Ta Khao nickel operations in Vietnam. The collaboration will empower Blackstone to demonstrate its compliance with environmental, social and governance, or “ESG” sustainability metrics, stretching from its mining operations through to the refined nickel products.
Blackstone sees Ta Khao as a district scale nickel, copper and platinum group element play. Its landholdings already boast a hefty nickel sulphide deposit at Ban Phuc and it continues to hit nickel sulphides at several other prospects within the tenure.
The company has launched a pre-feasibility study weighing up the potential of a mining operation at Ta Khoa, known as its “upstream business unit”.
It is also considering a possible “downstream business unit” involving hydrometallurgical refining to produce battery-grade nickel-cobalt-manganese precursor products for use in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.
The collaboration with the UK-based Circulor will now enable Blackstone to show the company’s commitment to meeting its ESG standards along a reliable chain of custody.
The initiative follows a growing global awareness of the impacts caused by the production of nickel and other materials used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. Management says end users in the lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle industries expect a traceable chain of production.
The company will now be better placed to communicate an ESG “passport” of its products and operations to downstream customers and other stakeholders.
Blackstone believes transparency and traceability of its vertically integrated supply chain will lead to better commercial outcomes.
Blackstone Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Scott Williamson said:“Blackstone is determined to be a leader in ESG innovation and the Company’s partnership with Circulor is at the cutting edge of an industry movement towards increased transparency and traceability of raw material supply chains. The end customer will ultimately demand and preferentially consume ethically and responsibility sourced nickel, which we believe the Ta Khoa Project inherently possesses.
Beyond tracing supply from the Ta Khoa mine, we are pleased that our partnership with Circulor is also aligned with Trafigura, one of the largest global commodity traders and potential feedstock supplier for the Ta Khoa Refinery. Trafigura has also recently announced a collaborative partnership with Circulor and this commitment to tracking sustainability metrics is reflective of Blackstone’s expectation of all potential feedstock suppliers of the Ta Khoa Refinery.”
Circulor’s software platform creates a chain of custody for materials and attaches ESG data to the flow of the materials along the entire operational chain. It enables businesses to analyse, track and manage their supply chains to support the responsible sourcing of raw materials.
Blackstone says its partnership with Circulor represents the first ESG tracking initiative in South-East Asia.
Circulor’s Director of Business Development, Yue Jin Tay added:
“As Circulor expands into Asia and Australia, we are excited about the possibilities this partnership brings. With the security of supply of critical minerals gaining increasing focus, helping Blackstone provide transparency for both provenance and ESG performance enables them to become a supplier of choice in the region. This also helps them and their global customers meet a range of stakeholder requirements including the EU Battery Regulations, and their financing and investment requirements, among others.”
It seems that in just a few short months the world has become fixated on the term “ESG” – or environmental, social and governance obligations for major industry.
Investment funds have been created to invest in ESG friendly businesses, companies have been built just to assist others to comply and it has become the industry catchword of 2021.
However with a world that is moving ever closer to placing ESG obligations of companies above almost everything else except safety – it is likely that the term ESG will become something more than just a catch cry and Blackstone is right to get ahead of the curve.
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