Blackstone Minerals looks to have awakened a sleeping giant in Vietnam, after posting a massive, 47-metre-wide, 1.04 per cent nickel hit at the King Cobra prospect within its Ta Khoa project. A maiden resource for the Ban Phuc and King Cobra deposits are due in the third quarter of 2020 and will be highly anticipated by the market given the significant successes Blackstone’s latest drilling campaign has experienced.
Blackstone Minerals looks to have awakened a sleeping giant in Vietnam, after posting a massive, 47-metre-wide, 1.04 per cent nickel hit at the King Cobra prospect within its Ta Khoa project. A maiden resource for the Ban Phuc and King Cobra deposits are due in the third quarter of 2020 and will be highly anticipated by the market given the significant successes Blackstone’s latest drilling campaign has seen.
The King Cobra Zone is of special economic significance to the company given its proximity to the Ban Phuc mill, a modern mining plant that was mothballed by previous owners only 4 years ago before it was picked up by Blackstone.
The discovery lies a mere 500 metres east of the plant.
King Cobra has the potential to provide near-term feed for the mill when Blackstone elects to switch it back on should the company take the plunge and push the button on a return to production.
Blackstone Minerals Managing Director, Scott Williamson said: “Drilling at our KCZ continues to deliver high-grade, shallow, disseminated nickel sulphide mineralisation. The broad intersections are proving up down-dip extensions to what looks like a very economic starter pit scenario at King Cobra.”
“We look forward to further shallow, high-grade results from King Cobra while we also continue to aggressively drill the exciting MSV targets such as Ban Chang to supplement the bulk tonnage opportunities from Ban Phuc and KCZ.”
Blackstone acquired the Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE project in May of 2019 and immediately set about identifying potential high-grade feed sources for the mothballed Ban Phuc plant. The Ta Khoa project is located 160 km west of Hanoi in Vietnam and previously operated between 2013 and 2016.
Ban Phuc was placed on care and maintenance in 2017 by the previous owners, due to falling nickel prices, however the emerging battery metal has since galloped back to more than US$13,500 per tonne.
Drilling of the King Cobra zone adjacent to the mill site continues to produce a smorgasbord of near-surface ore grade intercepts. The most recent46.8m long intersection grading 1.04 per cent nickel was relatively shallow, starting from 65.8 metres downhole.
Other notable intercepts were 27.6 metres at 1.17 per cent nickel from 235 metres and 17.8 metres at 1.06 per cent from 116.5 metres.
Blackstone has now completed its initial resource drilling program at Ban Phuc and King Cobra with an extensive zone of disseminated nickel mineralisation outlined over an area more than 500 metres wide and covering in excess of 1,000 metres of strike – the Ban Phuc-King Cobra zone mineralisation remains open along strike and at depth. A maiden resource for the KCZ discovery is due in the third quarter of 2020.
Blackstone continues to aggressively explore a range of targets through the regional tenure at Ta Khoa which includes the King Cobra deeps target and a plethora of massive sulphide vein, or MSV targets within easy trucking distance of the plant site. Two diamond rigs are currently hammering away at the Ban Chang MSV target 2km southeast of Ban Phuc, with further results expected in the coming weeks.
The maiden resource for Ban Phuc looks set to play a key role in underpinning the company’s evolving scoping study over the Ta Khoa project. However, with more than $6 million in the bank and an abundance of ore grade nickel intercepts from drilling, it is increasingly looking more like a case of when, rather than if, the company will make the leap back into production.
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