High-grade nickel hit is a boost for Blackstone’s battery metal ambitions
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Special Report: Blackstone’s Ban Chang prospect is looking the goods after its maiden drill hole delivered grades higher than those produced from the Ban Phuc mine in Vietnam.
Assays returned a top intersection of 1.05m grading 2.98 per cent nickel, 1.22 per cent copper, 0.18 per cent cobalt and 3.43 grams per tonne (g/t) platinum group elements (PGE) from a depth of 58.5m within a broader intercept of 5.2m at 0.66 per cent nickel, 0.73 per cent copper, 0.04 per cent cobalt and 0.79g/t PGE from 58m.
The result gives Blackstone Minerals (ASX:BSX) something to look forward to given that all three maiden holes at Ban Chang intersected massive sulphide nickel over a 1km strike within the 1.2km massive sulphide target zone.
It also represents a very auspicious start to its regional drilling program, which tests electromagnetic (EM) targets generated from 25 massive sulphide vein (MSV) prospects throughout the Ta Khoa project.
This program is aimed at finding MSV deposits analogous to the Ban Phuc MSV that produced 975,000 tonnes of ore grading 2.4 per cent nickel and 1 per cent copper for previous owners from an average vein width of just 1.3m.
That massive sulphides were intersected within metres of modelled EM plates also confirms EM’s potential to unlock the world-class magmatic nickel sulphide geology throughout the Ta Khoa nickel sulphide district.
Managing director Scott Williamson says the first assays from Ban Chang confirm a high-grade magmatic nickel sulphide vein with significant by-products including copper, cobalt, platinum and palladium that collectively exceed the grades mine from the Ban Phuc mine during lower nickel prices.
“Ban Chang is one of the key prospects we are testing and it has potential to add high-grade feed to a bulk open pit mining scenario at Ban Phuc,” he added.
“We look forward to further results from Ban Chang as we continue to drill test the 1.2km-long massive sulphide EM targets over the coming weeks.”
The drilling results provide support for the company’s ambition to produce nickel sulphate for the lithium-ion battery industry with a scoping study on track for completion in the third quarter.
Its downstream processing plants are supported by a $6.8m investment from South Korea’s largest electric vehicle battery cathode manufacturer, Ecopro BM.