Privately financed Canadian iron-vanadium developer BlackRock Metals will sell up to 25 percent of itself to Oman Oil Company (OOC), according to reports that emerged over the holidays.
The deal calls for OOC to invest an undisclosed amount into BlackRock; the Middle Eastern company will also be granted offtake rights, subject to negotiation of final terms. The investment agreement was signed between the two companies in Muscat on December 17. BlackRock is developing the BlackRock iron-vanadium-titanium project, which is located in the Chibougamau area of Quebec and covers 4,406 hectares. BlackRock hosts over 250 million metric tons (MT) of ore reserves grading 25.6 percent iron and 0.38 percent vanadium pentoxide, according to reports from the Quebec government. A recently completed feasibility study on the BlackRock project shows that the operation is capable of producing 3 million MT per year of iron concentrate containing vanadium and titanium. The open-pit project has a forecast mine life of 14 years, with a capital cost of $600 million. “We are pleased to announce our latest investment and first in Canada,” the Oman Tribune cited HE Nasser bin Khamis Al Jashmi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas and board chairman of OOC, as saying. “Additionally, OOC's ability to off-take a proportion of BlackRock's concentrates will support metal-based industrial projects in Oman.” That is the second international financing and offtake agreement that BlackRock has completed. In January 2011, the company signed an agreement with AIM-listed Prosperity Minerals Holdings (LSE:PMHL), a China-based iron ore trading business. Prosperity agreed to invest an initial US$8 million in BlackRock to secure offtake of 800,000 MT of iron over a two-and-a-half-year period.