Blackstone Minerals has set in place an agreement for its 90 per cent owned subsidiary, Ban Phuc Nickel Mines to collaborate with the Vietnamese Government to identify new nickel opportunities outside of the company’s current Ta Khoa district tenement. First project for the new partnership will be to advance the highly prospective Chim Van nickel target located just 10km from the company’s Ban Phuc open pit deposit.
Vietnam-focused nickel company, Blackstone Minerals, has set in place an agreement for its 90 per cent owned subsidiary Ban Phuc Nickel Mines, or “BPNM”, to collaborate with the Vietnamese Government to identify new nickel opportunities outside of the company’s current Ta Khoa nickel-copper-platinum district tenement holdings in Northern Vietnam.
The collaboration with the General Department of Geology & Minerals of Vietnam, or “GDGMV” will begin by conducting new geophysical exploration to advance the highly prospective Chim Van nickel target located approximately 10 kilometres from the Ban Phuc open pit deposit.
BPNM will provide the technical expertise and equipment to support GDGMV’s effort at demonstrating the prospectivity of the target. Ban Phuc will then apply for exploration license over the project which is located only 10km from the existing Ban Phuc Nickel mine.
Intriguingly, the Chim Van project area includes a large magnetic anomaly which the company thinks may reflect the presence of an exceedingly large ultramafic-mafic intrusion, an order of magnitude larger than the Ban Phuc ultramafic intrusion.
Historical geological mapping and sampling in the area indicates the presence of nickel and copper mineralised mafic-ultramafic dykes with portable XRF analyses on gossan samples returning up to 1.13 per cent nickel and 0.37 per cent copper.
Adding smoke to the fire, preliminary geophysical, geological and geochemical interpretation suggests the presence of an extensive mafic-ultramafic dyke swarm adjacent to the Chim Van magnetic anomaly of similar style to the nearby Ban Phuc-Ban Chang, Ban Khoa-King Snake and Ta Cuong intrusive centres.
Blackstone Minerals’ Managing Director Scott Williamson said:
“Blackstone is delighted to be working closely with the GDGMV to define the geological potential of the Chim Van target. The Chim Van target is located in close proximity to the existing Ta Khoa footprint and would leverage the Company’s current development plans, which includes the construction of a large concentrator adjacent to the significant existing mineral resource at Ban Phuc.”
The company also stated that the development of the Ta Khoa downstream refinery will be underpinned by Blackstone’s strategy to secure supply.
Williamson said: “The Chim Van target, albeit in the early phases of discovery, is an example of the growth opportunities in and around the Ta Khoa district, and in Northern Vietnam more broadly that the Company is working on diligently to secure. We look forward to future cooperation with the GDGMV and updating our shareholders of the outcomes of our initial exploration programs in due course.”
Blackstone is steadily working towards building the district-scale Ta Khoa nickel, copper and platinum group element-PGE- project which lies 160km west of Hanoi in the north of Vietnam.
The company has a maiden indicated resource of 44.3 million tonnes going 0.52 per cent nickel for an impressive 229,000 tonnes of contained metal delineated for the large-scale Ban Phuc deposit. The deposit also hosts a further inferred mineral resource tipping the scales at 14.3Mt at 0.35 per cent nickel, for 50,000 tonnes of contained nickel.
A resource update for Ban Phuc is anticipated later this year. Blackstone is also delivering solid nickel sulphide hits at King Snake - one of several advanced massive sulphide vein prospects at the Ta Khoa project. Recent drilling there intersected 4.9 metres at 1.09 per cent nickel, 0.97 per cent copper, 0.04 per cent cobalt and 0.89 grams per tonne PGE from 133m and 1.18m at 1.73 per cent nickel 1.09 per cent copper, 0.06 per cent cobalt and 1.07 g/t PGE from 190m.
Blackstone is also considering a possible “downstream business unit” involving hydrometallurgical refining to produce battery-grade nickel-cobalt-manganese precursor products for use in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.
The company envisages the Ban Phuc open pit as the initial source of feed to a proposed refinery for the downstream business operation.
The district-scale potential of the Ta Khao tenure, including King Snake, could provide further feedstock for the operation and expand the life of the proposed venture.
The collaboration with the Vietnamese government agency will leverage current development plans for Blackstone – a partnership that may provide invaluable down the track.
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