Blackstone’s Ban Chang proving to be ‘significantly larger scale’
Special Report: Blackstone’s Ban Chang prospect in Vietnam is proving itself up as a much bigger than expected nickel deposit, with the second of four holes drilled hitting mineralisation over 1km away from the first hole.
The latest hole returned a hit of 9.8m grading 1.45 per cent nickel, 0.9 per cent copper, 0.08 per cent cobalt with platinum group element (PGE) credits from a depth of 57.05m.
It included a higher-grade interval of 1.85m at 3.59 per cent nickel, 1.18 per cent copper and 0.2 per cent cobalt.
Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) says the second hole is more than 1km along strike from the first hole at the prospect, which returned a hit of 5.2m at 0.66 per cent nickel, 0.73 per cent copper and 0.04 per cent cobalt from 58m.
Results are still pending for two maiden holes that intersected 1.2m of massive sulphide veins (MSV) and 15.4m of nickel sulphide mineralisation respectively.
“We have demonstrated strong potential for a bulk underground mining scenario at Ban Chang which could be significantly larger scale than the previously mined Ban Phuc massive sulphide underground mine,” managing director Scott Williamson said.
Previous owners successfully mined a narrow MSV at Ban Phuc while nickel prices were much lower than they were today.
“With bulk underground mining and the potential for significant PGE credits, we could be looking at a very economic mining scenario at Ban Chang,” Williamson said.
And there is still plenty more exploration upside.
Ban Chang is just the first of 25 MSV targets to be tested within Blackstone’s Ta Khoa project, which could add more high-grade feed to bulk mining at Ban Phuc.
The company aims to deliver a maiden resource focused on the disseminated sulphide ore at Ban Phuc and a scoping study on the existing downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa in the current quarter.
Blackstone’s downstream processing plans are supported by a $6.8m investment from South Korea’s largest electric vehicle battery cathode manufacturer, Ecopro BM.
Ta Khoa could potentially produce critical raw materials required for EcoPro’s cathode manufacturing.
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