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Blackstone Minerals enhances Ta Khoa potentlal with massive sulphide nickel intersected at Ban Chang

The drilling is part of an ongoing campaign to target regional MSVs as the company aims to build its resource inventory at the Ta Khoa Project.

Blackstone Minerals Ltd - Blackstone Minerals intersects massive sulphide nickel at Ban Chang
Massive sulphide mineralisation in core from the drilling at Ban Chang

Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX:BSX) has further enhanced the potential of the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project in Vietnam with massive sulphide nickel intersected in two maiden drill holes at Ban Chang.

These two holes were drilled more than 200 metres apart and along strike within a 1.2-kilometre-long massive sulphide target zone defined by high priority electromagnetic (EM) plates.

Drill hole BC20-01 intersected 1.05 metres of massive sulphide veins (MSV) from 58.5 metres and 0.5 metres of sulphide veinlets from 59.5 metres, while hole BC20-02 intersected 1.2 metres MSV from 87 metres.

"Great sign for future"

Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said: “It’s exciting to be targeting massive sulphide veins and achieving intersections within a few metres of the modelled EM plates – this is a great sign for the future of the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project.

“With the advantage of an in-house geophysics team, we are extremely well-positioned to unlock this world-class geology and understand the full potential of our flagship asset.”

Shares have been as much as 13% higher to 18 cents intra-day and are up from 13.5 cents at close on May 25.

The drilling is part of an ongoing campaign to target regional MSVs as the company aims to build its resource inventory at Ta Khoa.

Blackstone’s maiden Ban Chang drill hole BC20-02 has intersected massive sulphide.

Historical mining

The Ban Phuc Nickel mine operated for 3.5 years between 2013 and 2016, producing 20,700 tonnes nickel, 10,100 tonnes copper and 6,700 tonnes cobalt, before closing when the defined mineable reserves were depleted.

The high-grade Ban Phuc MSV is less than 50 metres to the south of the Ban Phuc DSS deposit and remains underexplored at depths below the base of previous mining.

Many other MSV targets are within potential trucking distance of the existing 450,000 tonnes per annum Ban Phuc processing facility which has been on care and maintenance since 2016.

Blackstone is evaluating near-mine MSV and other potential DSS targets to continue drill testing during the 2020 season.

The aim is to identify high-grade and further disseminated mineralisation for either an early restart of the Ban Phuc mining operation or the potential to blend higher grade MSV mineralisation with the larger tonnage DSS mineralisation for processing.

Ongoing exploration

Blackstone’s second drill rig will continue to follow the in-house geophysics team throughout the Ta Khoa nickel sulphide district, testing high priority EM targets generated from 25 MSV prospects including King Snake, Ban Khoa, Ban Chang, and Ban Khang.

Williamson said: “Our second drill rig will continue to drill high priority EM plates and look to delineate potential high-grade massive sulphide ore bodies, akin to the successful Ban Phuc nickel mine, which was mined economically during some of the lowest nickel prices seen in the past decade.

“Our main drill rig continues to drill the King Cobra discovery zone at depth.”

Ban Chang MSV target showing over a 1.2-kilometre-long of EM plates with maiden drill holes BC20-01 and BC20-02 intersecting MSV and sulphide veinlets

Project potential

Blackstone believes that the Ta Khoa project represents a true district-scale nickel-platinum group elements (PGE) sulphide opportunity of a calibre rarely controlled by a junior company.

The project’s infrastructure advantages include the existing processing facility, abundant low-cost hydroelectric power, a skilled low-cost labour force and the location in a country that has become an Asian hub for electronics and battery manufacturing with a growing demand for nickel sulphate for lithium-ion battery manufacturing.

Next steps

The company aims to deliver a maiden resource in quarter three, focused initially on the DSS at Ban Phuc, but will continue to investigate the potential to restart the existing Ban Phuc concentrator through focused exploration on both MSV and DSS deposits.

Blackstone has also started a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa, due in quarter three, which will provide details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.

In addition, Blackstone will investigate the potential to develop downstream processing infrastructure in Vietnam to produce a downstream nickel and cobalt product to supply Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.

This is supported by the recent $6.8 million investment from EcoPro Co Ltd (KOSDAQ:086520), the world’s second-largest nickel-rich cathode materials manufacturer.

Quick facts: Blackstone Minerals Ltd

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Market: ASX
Market Cap: $62.94 m

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Blackstone Minerals steps out at Ban Chang target and hits high-grade...

Blackstone Minerals Ltd's (ASX:BLK) Scott Williamson updates Proactive on current drilling at its Ban Chang prospect at the Ta Khoa project in Vietnam. He discusses the results from hole three and says stepping out more than 1-kilometre they've hit over 5 metres at 2% nickel, 1% copper and about...

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