Blackstone spins the drill bit at regional nickel targets in Vietnam
Link copied to
Special Report: Blackstone has kicked off regional drilling at its Ta Khoa project targeting high-grade massive sulphide veins (MSV) to supplement its existing resource base.
The company is targeting MSV prospects analogous to the previously mined Ban Phuc MSV, where previous owners successfully mined 975,000 tonnes of ore grading 2.4 per cent nickel and 1 per cent copper between 2013 and 2016.
Blackstone Minerals’ (ASX:BSX) ground-based electromagnetics geophysics crew recently generated a 1km-long massive sulphide target within a 12km-long district-scale exploration corridor that it will test over the coming months.
Drilling is continuing at the King Cobra discovery zone at depth while a second rig will test high-priority electromagnetic targets generated from 25 MSV prospects including King Snake, Ban Khoa, Ban Chang and Ban Khang.
“It’s a pleasure to be drilling and exploring our district-scale massive sulphide opportunities throughout the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project,” managing director Scott Williamson said.
“By using our in-house geophysics crew and our own drill rigs, we can cost effectively explore this globally significant nickel sulphide district using modern geophysical techniques to unlock the significant potential of the world-class geology.
“We see potential to increase annual nickel production from the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project through targeting high-grade massive sulphide veins to complement the base load nickel sulphide feed to be potentially mined from the Ban Phuc DSS and King Cobra discovery zone.”
Blackstone is currently working on a scoping study that is focused on downstream processing to produce nickel sulphide for the lithium-ion battery sector, with the maiden resource on track for completion in the third quarter of 2020.
The downstream processing is supported by the $6.8m investment from EcoPro BM, a subsidiary of EcoPro — the world’s second largest and Korea’s largest nickel-rich cathode materials manufacturer — that was completed in April 2020.
About 50 rock chip samples and 23 diamond holes have been drilled by previous owners at the King Snake target about 1.5km northeast of the Ta Khoa processing facility.
The known body of mineralisation at King Snake is estimated to be 600m long, 0.2m to 3m thick averaging 0.62m with top grades of 1.79 per cent nickel, 0.7 per cent copper and 1.14 grams per tonne (g/t) platinum group elements.
King Snake remains open at depth and to the west.
Blackstone will complete electromagnetic work west of King Snake to identify zones of potentially broader mineralisation associated with the King Snake MSV.
Ban Khoa is interpreted to be a 300m wide sill about 1.5km north of the Ban Phuc deposit.
Early work by Vietnamese geologists consisted of 13 trenches, a single 100m-long adit and 50 drill holes, several of which penetrated sub-parallel layers of nickel-enriched ultramafic.
Mineralisation at Ban Chang — about 2.5km southeast of the processing facility — is mainly veins and lenses of massive sulphides as well as disseminated sulphides (DSS) hosted within tremolite dykes that are about 900m long and between 5m and 60m wide.
Blackstone has completed an extensive electromagnetic survey and generated a 1km-long massive sulphide target at Ban Chang.
Other prospects that will be targeted include the Ban Khang ,where trenches have uncovered a 130m strike of gossan adjacent to the mapped ultramafic body, Suoi Phan at the far west of the licence area where assays of up to 5.9 per cent nickel were reported from historical trenching and Ban Mong where trenching returned up to 6.11 per cent nickel.