Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX:BSX) (OTCMKTS:BLSTF) has delivered more broad disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation at the King Cobra discovery which is part of the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project in Vietnam.
New results from the King Cobra Zone include 38 metres at 1.1% nickel, 59 metres at 0.9% and 49 metres at 0.8% while high-grade results include 16 metres at 1.8% and 20 metres at 1.4% nickel.
The company has also intersected some of the broadest downhole intercepts to date including 265 metres at 0.33%, 83 metres at 0.5% and 72 metres at 0.65%.
Summary of new significant results from drilling of the KCZ.
Blackstone Minerals’ managing director Scott Williamson said: “Our drilling at the King Cobra discovery continues to intersect broad disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation.”
“This discovery has delivered consistent, shallow, high-grade disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation potentially amenable to a highly economic, bulk tonnage open pit mining scenario and the restart of the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project.”
Blackstone’s drilling continues to intersect the KCZ over 200 metres of strike length and the discovery remains open downdip and along strike to the northwest and southeast.
Resource drilling at Ban Phuc has been completed with two rigs placed on standby.
However, aggressive exploration continues at Ta Khoa with one rig targeting the downdip extents of the KCZ discovery and a second rig testing massive sulphide vein (MSV) targets throughout the project.
Plan view showing Ban Phuc DSS drill hole collar locations and King Cobra Zone (KCZ).
Resource estimate on track
A resource estimate for Ban Phuc is on track for completion in the September quarter of 2020 focused initially on the disseminated sulphide (DSS).
Williamson added: “Results will be used as part of our maiden resource estimate for the project due in Q3 and we continue to drill with the aim of building a resource inventory that will allow us to restart nickel production from the Ban Phuc mine.”
Since announcing the option agreement in May 2019, Blackstone has made significant progress at Ta Khoa, drilling in excess of 12,000 metres of diamond core in more than 65 holes into the Ban Phuc DSS deposit and King Cobra discovery zone.
Scoping study advanced
The company is also well advanced with an initial scoping study evaluating mining and processing options, including potential in-country downstream processing to deliver high-value nickel sulphate into Asia’s rapidly expanding electric vehicle (EV) industry.
Ta Khoa project timeline.
A recently completed share subscription agreement with Korea’s largest and the world’s second-largest, EV battery cathode manufacturer, EcoPro Co Limited, represents a major step toward making this a reality.
Drilling is yet to define the ultimate geometry of the disseminated nickel-PGE layers in the deposit, however, preliminary observations and interpretations are being used to guide further exploration of the deposit.
Blackstone’s exploration has been unaffected by COVID-19 and the company continues to act in accordance with strict protocols to ensure the safety of employees and the communities in which it operates.
DSS and MSV targets
Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project has a combination of large DSS nickel targets and 25 other prospects, including multiple high-grade MSV targets of the style that were mined adjacent to the current Ban Phuc DSS drilling.
Ta Khoa Project in relation to the LG Chem & Vinfast joint venture battery factory.
The Ban Phuc Nickel Mine operated for 3.5 years between 2013 and 2016, producing 20,700 tonnes of nickel, 10,100 tonnes of copper and 670 tonnes of cobalt, before closing when the defined mineable reserves were depleted.
The high-grade Ban Phuc MSV is less than 50 metres 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 that was built to international standards, commissioned in 2013, and has been on care and maintenance since 2016.