Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX:BSX) has started drilling at Ta Cuong, the company’s second high-priority MSV prospect at the Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-Platinum Group Elements (PGE) Project in northern Vietnam.
The company is targeting electromagnetic (EM) plates at Ta Cuong, where drilling by previous owners did not target geophysical anomalies.
However, Blackstone’s in-house geophysics team has been successful in defining new targets which the company is progressively drilling with its own rigs.
The drilling at Ta Cuong forms part of the company’s aggressive exploration program with multiple rigs targeting MSV prospects analogous to the recently discovered Ban Chang prospect and flagship Ban Phuc ore body.
Potential to increase production
Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said: “We are pleased to announce drilling has commenced at Ta Cuong, our second MSV prospect.
“Based on geological similarities and now with some exciting EM plates to target, we believe it has the potential to deliver similar results to Ban Chang and Ban Phuc.
“We continue to systematically test our 25 MSV prospects and with our in-house geophysics crew and Blackstone-owned drill rigs, we can cost-effectively explore this globally significant nickel sulphide district using modern geophysical techniques.
“We see potential to increase future nickel production from the Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE Project through targeting high-grade MSV to complement the baseload nickel sulphide feed from the bulk open pit mining scenario we are currently modelling at Ban Phuc and King Cobra.”
Ta Cuong prospect
The Ta Cuong prospect is associated with the Ban Khang intrusion which is around 6 kilometres northwest of Ban Phuc and is hosted in the Ban Phuc Horizon, adjacent to the Chim Van Co Muong Fault.
Blackstone’s recent assaying of historic drill holes from Ta Cuong returned strong results including:
- 15.6 metres at 0.66% nickel, 0.6% copper, 0.04% cobalt and 0.31 g/t PGE from 45.9 metres including 0.6 metres at 1.95% nickel, 4.47% copper, 0.12% cobalt and 0.66 g/t PGE from 51.7 metres; and
- 5 metres at 0.84% nickel, 0.59% copper, 0.05% cobalt and 0.87 g/t PGE from 150 metres including 2.55 metres at 1.43% nickel, 0.86% copper, 0.09% cobalt and 0.78 g/t PGE from 150.45 metres.
The company will continue ground-based EM at Ta Cuong over the coming months followed by further drill testing.
Blackstone aims to deliver a maiden resource in the current quarter, focused initially on the DSS (disseminated sulphide) at Ban Phuc and continues to investigate the potential to restart the existing Ban Phuc concentrator.
A scoping study is underway on downstream processing at Ta Khoa to provide details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.
Blackstone has started metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS deposit intending to develop a flow sheet for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.
The company also plans to develop downstream processing infrastructure in Vietnam to produce nickel and cobalt products for supplying to Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.