ASX-listed Blackstone Minerals has now threaded three drill holes into a lucrative looking EM target at its Ban Chang prospect at its Ta Khoa nickel-PGE project in Vietnam, extending the known massive sulphide mineralisation to an impressive 1 km in strike length. The latest drill hole intersected a healthy 4.6 m of massive and semi-massive sulphide veins within a 9 m sulphide interval.
Blackstone Minerals has now threaded three drill holes into a lucrative looking EM target at its Ban Chang prospect at its Ta Khoa nickel-PGE project in Vietnam, extending the known massive sulphide mineralisation to an impressive 1km in strike length.
Blackstone said it intersected the Ban Chang vein within metres of where its EM plate modelling had predicted, which underlines the ongoing viability of this method of defining riches at depth. Importantly, the latest drill hole intersected a healthy 4.6 m of massive and semi-massive sulphide veins within a 9m sulphide interval around the 57 m mark, setting up some market anticipation around the assay numbers when they are tabled.
Ban Chang lies just 2.5 km southeast of the mothballed but surprisingly modern plant at Blackstone’s Ta Khoa nickel-PGE project that was only placed onto care and maintenance in 2016 due to the prevailing nickel price at the time.
The ASX-listed company said last week that its first two drill holes into the western section of Ban Chang had intersected a massive sulphide vein 200 m apart. The first hole intersected 1.05 m of massive sulphides from 58.5 m with half a metre of sulphide veinlets visible from 59.5 m. The second hole hit 1.2 m of massive sulphides from 87 m down hole.
The latest drill hole intersected nine separate mineralised zones that vary from disseminated sulphides and sulphide veinlets to semi-massive and massive veins, between 57.05 m and 66.2 m down hole. The company said the best two intersections were 2.35 m of semi-massive sulphide veins from 61 m and 1.85 m of massive sulphide veins from 63.35 m down hole.
Blackstone will now be eagerly awaiting the drill results from a second drill rig actively testing at least three other high priority EM targets that were selected from an inventory of 25 massive sulphide targets within the project area.
Blackstone Minerals’ Managing Director, Scott Williamson said: “We’re pleased to announce a significant intersection of a 9.15 m wide zone of nickel sulfide vein mineralisation at Ban Chang which could have the scale and geometry to be mined as a bulk underground mining scenario. We’ll continue to explore Ban Chang’s potential to become a supplementary high-grade feed source to the main Ban Phuc disseminated sulfide orebody, with further holes planned for drilling in this area.”
Ta Khoa’s prospects are analogous to the previously mined Ban Phuc deposit where the previous owners produced over 20kt of nickel, 10kt of copper and 670t of cobalt between 2013 and 2016 from an average massive sulphide vein width of 1.3 m, according to Blackstone.
Management said the company remains on track to complete its scoping study and maiden resource estimate during the September quarter this year, with the study focused on downstream processing requirements to deliver nickel sulphate into the lithium-ion battery supply chain.
Blackstone said the downstream processing potential of the project was well supported by a $6.8 million investment in April from EcoPro Co Limited, the world’s second largest nickel-rich cathode materials manufacturer.
A re-start plan for the mothballed Ban Phuc concentrator is being considered too, as a part of the broader Ta Khoa project which is really the ace in the hole for Blackstone who will be able to largely sidestep the significant capex requirements that are usually necessary for a new nickel find.
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