The company already owns two diamond drill rigs drilling Ban Chang East and the King Cobra Discovery Zone (KCZ) within Ban Phuc section of the project.
Low drilling costs
A third diamond drill rig will allow Blackstone to accelerate drilling at Ban Chang to supplement the ongoing study work focused on downstream processing to produce nickel sulphate for the lithium-ion battery industry.
Shares reached a new 12-month high of 25 cents this morning, which is more than 11% higher than the previous close.
With the third rig purchase, the company has an “all-in” diamond drilling cost of US$50 per metre at the Ta Khoa project, which is around a 60% reduction in drilling costs relative to Australian industry averages.
“Progressing as rapidly as possible”
Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said: “Blackstone has made rapid progress over the past few months and we are very excited about the potential of Ban Chang.
“Our latest assays have confirmed a new zone of high-grade mineralisation which was previously untested at Ban Chang East.
“As we work towards completing our scoping study this quarter, we have now purchased an additional diamond drill rig to ensure we can progress the project as rapidly as possible as we systematically test our 25 massive sulphide targets.”
Ban Chang success
Blackstone’s four maiden drill holes at Ban Chang all intersected massive sulphide nickel over a 1.2-kilometre strike within a 1.2-kilometre-long massive sulphide target zone defined by high priority electromagnetic (EM) plates.
The company now aims to fast-track drilling along strike and down-dip at Ban Chang.
Previous results include:
- 5.2 metres at 0.66% nickel, 0.73% copper, 0.04% cobalt and 0.79 g/t platinum group elements (PGE) from 58 metres;
- 1.5 metres at 2.20% nickel, 2.12% copper, 0.13% cobalt and 2.66 g/t PGE from 58.5 metres including 1.05 metres at 2.98% nickel, 1.22% copper, 0.18% cobalt and 3.43 g/t PGE from 58.5 metres;
- 9.8 metres at 1.45% nickel, 0.9% copper, 0.08% cobalt and 0.70 g/t PGE from 57.05 metres; and
- 5.7 metres at 2.07% nickel, 1.08% copper, 0.12% cobalt and 0.95 g/t PGE from 60 metres, including 1.85 metres at 3.59% nickel, 1.18% copper, 0.20% cobalt and 1.97 g/t PGE from 63.35 metres.
Ban Chang prospect with 1.2 kilometre long of EM plates
Maiden Ban Phuc resource
The company is targeting a further resource update as soon as possible after completion of the maiden Ban Phuc resource this quarter.
This maiden resource will initially be focused on the DSS at Ban Phuc and is continuing to investigate the potential to restart the existing Ban Phuc concentrator through focused exploration on both massive sulphide veins (MSV) and DSS deposits.
Further targets will be drilled later in 2020, extending the drilling program to beyond Ban Chang and throughout the 25 massive sulphide vein (MSV) targets.
Scoping study commences
Blackstone has started a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa which is also expected in quarter three.
This study will provide details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.
The company has started metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS deposit with an aim to develop a flow sheet for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.
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.