Special Report: Battery-focused nickel explorer Blackstone Minerals reckons the new King Cobra Zone discovery could be potentially amenable to a “bulk tonnage open pit mine” as part of the restart of the broader Ta Khoa project.

Unaffected by COVID-19 shutdowns thus far, Blackstone’s (ASX:BSX) drilling at Ta Khoa in Vietnam continues to deliver broad, high grade disseminated nickel sulfide mineralisation.

New results from the recent King Cobra discovery include 38m at 1.1 per cent, 59m at 0.9 per cent, and 49m at 0.8 per cent nickel from near surface.

Drilling has also intersected some of the broadest downhole nickel intercepts to date, including 265m at 0.33 per cent.

The King Cobra zone has now been intersected over 200m strike length, but remains ‘open’ in multiple directions. That means the explorer doesn’t know where it ends.

Still, initial geological modelling of Blackstone’s +12,000m of drilling since May 2019 — combined with more than 60,000m in 381 holes drilled by previous project owners – “is starting to reveal the potential extents of the [wider] Ban Phuc nickel–PGE deposit”.

Blackstone has now completed resource drilling at Ban Phuc, but aggressive exploration continues. One diamond rig is targeting down dip extensions of the King Cobra Zone, while a second rig chases massive sulfide vein (MSV) targets throughout the project area.

“Our drilling at the King Cobra discovery continues to intersect broad disseminated nickel sulfide mineralisation,” Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson says.

“The King Cobra discovery has delivered consistent, shallow, high-grade disseminated nickel sulfide mineralisation potentially amenable to a highly economic, bulk tonnage open pit mining scenario and the restart of the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project.”

“Results will be used as part of our maiden resource estimate for the project due in Q3, and we continue to drill with the aim of building a resource inventory that will allow us to restart nickel production from the Ban Phuc mine.”

An initial project scoping study will also be released in Q3 evaluating mining and processing options.

This includes potential in-country downstream processing to deliver high value nickel sulfate into Asia’s rapidly expanding electric vehicle (EV) industry.

In April, the company attracted a $6.8m investment from a major Korean cathode material maker at a substantial premium.

EcoPro BM, a subsidiary of EcoPro – the world’s second largest and Korea’s largest nickel-rich cathode materials manufacturer, signed a binding agreement to acquire 40 million shares at an issue price of 17c each.

This represented a meaty 62 per cent premium over the company’s last traded price, highlighting the value that EcoPro is placing on Blackstone.


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This story was developed in collaboration with Blackstone Minerals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This story does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.