Special Report: Blackstone is keen to get to grips with what it described as the “best target to date” that has been generated by its in-house geophysics team.

The new, high-priority nickel-copper-platinum group element (PGE) target is located within the King Snake prospect that is just 1.5km northeast of the processing facility and the flagship Ban Phuc disseminated sulphide (DSS) deposit in Vietnam.

Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) says that King Snake is analogous to the Ban Phuc massive sulphide vein (MSV) orebody and that drilling by previous owners were not targeting electromagnetic plates.

Despite this, historical drill holes returned some significant results such as 3.04m at 2.03 per cent nickel, 0.69 per cent copper and 1.45 grams per tonne (g/t) PGE from a depth of 89.9m that includes a higher grade zone of 1.74m at 3.3 per cent nickel, 1.02 per cent copper and 2.16g/t PGE from 90.2m.

This is an oversight that the company’s geophysics intends to rectify with plans to use EM to refine targets at King Snake for high impact drilling over the coming months.

“Blackstone’s in-house geophysics team has generated our best target to date at King Snake,” Managing Director Scott Williamson said.

“King Snake is located down plunge of historic Ni-Cu-PGE intercepts and we look forward to drill testing this exciting new high-grade target over the coming weeks.

“Based on geological similarities and historical results, we believe it has the potential to deliver similar results to the Ban Phuc MSV but with significant PGE credits.

“We continue to target high grade ore for our staged capex strategy to utilise the existing 450ktpa concentrator in the early years of the mine life.”

blackstone minerals ta khao king snake
Blackstone’s Ta Khoa nickel-PGE district. PIc: Supplied


King Snake nickel-copper-PGE prospect

Previous rock chip sampling and diamond drilling had defined the body of mineralisation at King Snake to an estimated 600m length with an average thickness of 0.62m and grades of 1.79 per cent nickel, 0.7 per cent copper and 1.14gt PGE.

The prospect remains open at depth and to the west with Blackstone planning to complete ground-based EM over the coming months to identify zones of potentially broader mineralisation associated with the King Snake MSV.

The Ban Phuc deposit has a recently announced maiden indicated mineral resource of 44.3 million tonnes at 0.52 per cent nickel for 229,000 tonnes of nickel.

A scoping study for Ban Phuc has highlighted an economically robust nickel sulphide project to produce downstream nickel-cobalt-manganese products.

NCM products are sought after as a cathode for the lithium-ion battery industry.

The scoping study estimated the project could support annual production of ~12,700 tonnes per year over an 8-year time span and generate ~$US665m of net present value, pre-tax.

Blackstone has started metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS deposit with the goal of developing a flow sheet for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.




This article was developed in collaboration with Blackstone Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.  

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.