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Blackstone Minerals begins first drilling at Ban Khoa nickel-copper-PGE target in Ta Khoa region

The maiden drilling campaign throughout the Ta Khoa nickel sulphide district will test high-priority EM targets generated from 25 MSV prospects.

Blackstone Minerals Ltd - Blackstone Minerals commences first drill program at Ban Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE target
Regional drilling has the potential to increase the mine life of the Ta Khoa Project in northern Vietnam

Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX:BSX) has started drilling Ban Khoa regional prospect of the Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE Project in Vietnam after its in-house geophysics crew generated new targets associated with the highly prospective Ban Khoa ultramafic intrusion.

A 1.2-kilometre-long massive sulphide target was identified within a 12-kilometre-long district-scale exploration corridor which the company will continue to drill test over the coming months.

Analogous to Ban Phuc DSS

Ban Khoa is around 1.5 kilometres north of the flagship Ban Phuc deposit and is analogous to the Ban Phuc Disseminated Sulphide (DSS) ore body.

This is where the company delivered the King Cobra discovery with a maiden indicated mineral resource of 44.3 million tonnes at 0.52% nickel for 229,000 tonnes nickel and an inferred resource of 14.3 million tonnes at 0.35% nickel for 50,000 tonnes.

“Potential to extend mine life”

Blackstone Minerals managing director Scott Williamson said: “We are very excited to commence exploration at Ban Khoa.

“Based on geological similarities and historical results, we believe it has the potential to deliver similar results to Ban Phuc.

“The geology at Ban Khoa is relatively well-understood given the historic drillings and we have refined our targets using modern geophysics.

“Exploration success here could add meaningful inventory, extend mine life and improve the economics demonstrated in our recently completed scoping study.”

The previous owners did not target electromagnetic (EM) plates when drilling, so the company will use EM to refine the targets at Ban Khoa for high impact drilling.

Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE-Copper-Cobalt district.

MSV prospects

Blackstone is targeting MSV prospects analogous to the previously mined Ban Phuc MSV, where previous owners successfully mined 975,000 tonnes from an average vein width of 1.3 metres and average grades of 2.4% nickel and 1% copper.

Williamson said: “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 annual nickel production from the Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE project through targeting high-grade MSV to complement the baseload nickel sulphide feed from the Ban Phuc DSS and King Cobra discovery zone.”

Ongoing exploration

Blackstone plans to explore both MSV and DSS targets throughout the project, initially within a 5-kilometre radius of the existing processing facility.

The ongoing maiden drilling campaign throughout the Ta Khoa nickel sulphide district will test high-priority EM targets generated from 25 MSV prospects including Ban Chang, Ta Cuong, Ban Khoa and King Snake.

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