Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX:BSX) continues its aggressive exploration program testing multiple massive sulphide vein (MSV) prospects throughout the Ta Khoa nickel sulphide district in northern Vietnam.
Addition of a second geophysics crew and the purchase of three additional drill rigs have allowed the company to double exploration capacity at the Ta Khoa Nickel Project and bring the all-in diamond drilling cost to just US$50 per metre – around a 60% reduction in drilling cost relative to Australian industry averages.
Currently, two rigs are testing MSV targets at Ban Chang, three are conducting exploration, geotechnical and metallurgical drilling at Ban Phuc, and one is testing EM conductors at Ta Cuong.
Blackstone has intersected massive nickel sulphide in all maiden drill holes over a 1.2-kilometre strike within a massive sulphide target zone which is now extended to more than 2-kilometre strike at Ban Chang prospect.
High-grade results include:
- 5.2 metres at 0.66% nickel, 0.73% copper, 0.04% cobalt and 0.79 g/t PGE from 58 metres;
- 4.1 metres at 0.92% nickel, 0.69% copper, 0.05% cobalt and 0.26 g/t PGE from 85.9 metres;
- 9.8 metres at 1.45% nickel, 0.9% copper, 0.08% cobalt and 0.70 g/t PGE from 57.05 metres;
- 21.5 metres at 0.69% nickel, 0.66% copper, 0.03% cobalt and 0.81 g/t PGE from 71 metres;
- 13.0 metres at 0.5% nickel, 0.71% copper, 0.05% cobalt and 0.46 g/t PGE from 89 metres and 4.2 metres at 0.52% nickel, 0.81% copper, 0.06% cobalt and 0.82 g/t PGE from 97.8 metres;
- 9.6 metres at 0.84% nickel, 0.73% copper, 0.05% cobalt and 0.7 g/t PGE from 57 metres;
- 14.65 metres at 0.74% nickel, 0.71% copper, 0.04% cobalt and 0.54 g/t PGE from 45 metres, 5.85 metres at 1.62% nickel, 1.47% copper, 0.08% cobalt and 1.09 g/t PGE from 51.8 metres including 0.87 metres at 3.32% nickel, 3.89% copper, 0.16% cobalt and 1.65 g/t PGE from 56.78 metres; and
- 8.3 metres at 0.5% nickel, 0.7% copper, 0.05% cobalt and 0.46 g/t PGE from 35.5 metres including 4.8 metres at 0.71% nickel, 0.81% copper, 0.06% cobalt and 0.46 g/t PGE from 39 metres.
Ta Khoa Nickel-Cu-PGE regional prospects
Blackstone has started drilling at Ta Cuong, using EM plates to test new MSV targets for high impact drilling over the coming months.
This drilling sees Blackstone continue its aggressive exploration program with multiple rigs targeting MSV prospects analogous to the recently discovered Ban Chang prospect and the flagship Ban Phuc ore body.
Blackstone’s recent assaying of historic drill holes (previously unassayed) from Ta Cuong, returned:
- 15.6 metres at 0.66% nickel, 0.6% copper, 0.04% cobalt and 0.31 g/t PGE from 45.9 metres, 0.6 metre 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, 2.55 metres at 1.43% nickel, 0.86% copper, 0.09% cobalt and 0.78 g/t from 150.45 metres.
Viper discovery zone
During the quarter, Blackstone also discovered a new zone of nickel mineralisation, coincident with high priority EM plates, at the Viper Discovery Zone (VDZ) east of Ban Chang.
Within trench BCH20-03, directly above a new EM anomaly at VDZ, the company discovered a nickel-copper gossan (iron cap formed by the oxidation of sulphides) with a float sample assaying 0.8% nickel and 0.5% copper (determined by Niton portable XRF).
The VDZ is a blind discovery with no surface exposures of nickel sulphide or ultramafic which bodes well for further blind discoveries of massive sulphide nickel, using Blackstone’s in-house geophysics crews to unlock the extensive potential throughout the Ta Khoa district.
Ta Khoa scoping study
Blackstone Minerals recently announced a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa to produce a downstream nickel and cobalt product to supply Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.
The company has also started metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc Disseminated Sulphide (DSS) deposit with the aim to develop a flow sheet for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.
On September 17, Blackstone raised $17.8 million (before costs) through a placement of 42,426,356 fully paid ordinary shares at 42 cents per share and welcomed new long-term institutional investors to the company’s register, including cornerstone investor Fidelity International.
The company also completed a share purchase plan on October 7, 2020, with shareholders participating up to the value of $30,000 at the same price of the placement raising $3 million.
Blackstone has positioned itself to advance the Ta Khoa Project over the coming year, with a strong cash balance of $25.7 million.