Special Report: Past owners only really scratched the surface at the Ta Khoa nickel mine in Vietnam, but Blackstone’s aggressive exploration is continuing to prove there is definitely a whole lot more to be found.

Blackstone Minerals’ (ASX:BSX) current drilling at the King Cobra Zone (KCZ) has extended the zone at depth, and it remains ‘open’ down dip and along strike. Nickel mineralisation now extends over 200m of strike at King Cobra.

Open just means the company hasn’t found the edges of this potentially massive system just yet.

Blackstone hit thick, significant grade mineralisation down to depths of nearly 250m. Top hits included a 47m intercept at 1 per cent nickel from 65m. But grades reached as high as 7.44 per cent from 159.3m.

One noteworthy hit returned 74.8m at 0.83 per cent nickel from 61.5m including 16.25m at 1.31 per cent from 63.5m, 17.8m at 1.06 per cent from 116.5m, 3.5m at 2.36 per cent from 156.5m and 0.7m at 7.44 per cent from 159.3m — along with copper, cobalt, platinum, palladium and gold.

These top hits moved shares up 10 per cent on Thursday morning.


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“Drilling at our KCZ continues to deliver high-grade, shallow, disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation,” managing director Scott Williamson said.

“The broad intersections are proving up down-dip extensions to what looks like a very economic starter pit scenario at King Cobra.”

Plan view showing Ban Phuc DSS drill hole collar locations and KCZ. Pic: Supplied

Ta Khoa is proving to be much bigger than expected, with drilling at the Ban Chang prospect earlier in July hitting mineralisation over 1km away from the first hole.

King Cobra and Ban Chang are just two of 25 massive sulphide veins identified at the broader Ta Khoa project.

The latest results also included new intersections from the deeper Ban Duoi Zone such as 58.15m at 0.92 per cent nickel from 58.2m, including 46.8m at 1.04 per cent from 65.8m; and 141m at 0.46 per cent from 20m, including 16.35m at 1.33 per cent from 246m.

“We look forward to further shallow, high-grade results from King Cobra while we also continue to aggressively drill the exciting MSV targets such as Ban Chang to supplement the bulk tonnage opportunities from Ban Phuc and KCZ,” Williamson said.


Drilling attack continues

Blackstone has completed initial resource drilling at Ban Phuc and placed two rigs on standby but is still continuing its aggressive exploration program.

One diamond drill rig is targeting the down dip extents of King Cobra and two diamond drill rigs are testing the MSV targets throughout the Ta Khoa project, initially at the Ban Chang prospect.

So far, Blackstone has drilled +12,000m of diamond core in more than 65 holes into the Ban Phuc disseminated sulphide (DSS) deposit and KCZ.

While previous project owners primarily focused their mining and exploration efforts on the MSV targets at the Ban Phuc deposit, Blackstone has been successfully exploring both MSV and DSS targets throughout the wider project area.

Ta Khoa Nickel-Cu-PGE – Regional Prospects. Pic: Supplied.

The road to development

Blackstone has a big third quarter planned.

Both the maiden resource at Ban Phuc and a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa will be announced in the next few months.

This scoping study will provide crucial details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.

Blackstone Minerals has also kicked off all-important metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS deposit to develop a processing ‘flow sheet’ for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.

The company will investigate the potential to develop downstream processing infrastructure in Vietnam to produce a downstream nickel and cobalt product for Asia’s growing 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.