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Blackstone Minerals begins drilling regional massive sulphide targets at Vietnamese nickel-PGE project

The company is targeting MSV prospects analogous to the previously mined Ban Phuc MSV, where previous owners mined 975,000 tonnes of high-grade ore.

Blackham Resources Ltd - Blackstone Minerals begins drilling MSV targets at Ta Khoa Nickel Project in Vietnam
Historic work at Ta Khoa highlights a district of high-grade nickel sulphide targets which have not been tested extensively

Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX:BLK) (FRA:B9S) has begun drilling regional massive sulphide vein (MSV) targets at the Ta Khoa Nickel Project in Vietnam.

The MSV targets are analogous to the previously mined Ban Phuc MSV, where previous owners mined 975,000 tonnes of high-grade ore at average grades of 2.4% nickel and 1% copper from an average vein width of 1.3 metres for 3.5 years between 2013 and 2016.

Blackstone’s in-house geophysics crew recently generated a 1-kilometre-long massive sulphide target within a 12-kilometre-long district-scale exploration corridor, which it will drill test over the coming months.

These high priority prospects will be the company’s initial targets in this phase of advanced exploration and drill testing.

Ta Khoa nickel-PGE district-scale 12-kilometre-long exploration corridor.

Managing director Scott Williamson said: “By using our in-house geophysics crew and our own drill rigs, we can cost-effectively explore this globally significant nickel sulphide district using modern geophysical techniques to unlock the significant potential of the world-class geology.

“We see potential to increase annual nickel production from the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project through targeting high-grade massive sulphide veins to complement the baseload nickel sulphide feed to be potentially mined from the Ban Phuc DSS and King Cobra discovery zone.”

Shares have been almost 11% higher intra-day at 16 cents, double what they were at the close on March 19.

King Snake target

King Snake is 1.5 kilometres northeast of the processing facility at the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project and remains open at depth and to the west.

Blackstone will complete ground-based EM west of King Snake in coming months to identify zones of potentially broader mineralisation associated with the King Snake MSV.

Ban Khoa plans

The Ban Khoa prospect is centred on an ultramafic body adjacent to the Chim Van-Co Muong Fault, around 1.5 kilometres north of the Ban Phuc deposit.

No modern drilling has been completed at Ban Khoa and the company will conduct ground-based EM at Ban Khoa over the coming months.

Ban Chang drilling

The Ban Chang prospect is 2.5 kilometres south-east of the processing facility and the Ban Phuc deposit, adjacent to the Chim Van – Co Muong fault system.

Blackstone has completed an extensive EM survey at Ban Chang and generated a 1-kilometre-long massive sulphide target, which is currently being drill tested.

Other prospects

The Ban Khang prospect is about 6 kilometres northwest of Ban Phuc and is hosted in the Ban Phuc Horizon, adjacent to the Chim Van-Co Muong Fault.

Suoi Phang prospect is at the far west end of the licence area and is hosted within Devonian metasediments of the Ban Mong Formation.

No modern surface EM surveying has been conducted on the prospect.

Ban Mong is 1.2 kilometres south along strike of Suoi Phang and is hosted in the same Ban Mong Formation quartzites, locally interbedded with sericite schists, which are steeply folded and north-east trending in the prospect area.

Next steps

Blackstone Minerals is aiming to deliver a maiden resource in the third quarter of 2020, focused initially on the DSS at Ban Phuc and continues to investigate the potential to restart the existing Ban Phuc concentrator through focused exploration on both MSV and DSS deposits.

The company has started a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa which will provide details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.

Metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS deposit has also begun with an aim to develop a flow sheet for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry.

In addition, Blackstone Minerals 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.

Quick facts: Blackstone Minerals Ltd

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Market: ASX
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