11/03/2021 - 15:23

More solid nickel-copper-PGE numbers for Blackstone

11/03/2021 - 15:23

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Blackstone Minerals looks to be defining a pair of new, massive sulphide deposits in northern Vietnam, with drilling at both its King Snake and Ban Chang nickel discoveries hitting good numbers. First-pass drill programs over the prospect areas have thrown up a grab bag of solid nickel-copper hits that the company will look to build into its growing resource inventory over the coming months.

Nickel sulphide in drill core from Blackstone’s Ta Khoa project in northern Vietnam. Credit: File

Blackstone Minerals looks to be defining a pair of new, massive sulphide deposits in northern Vietnam, with drilling at both its King Snake and Ban Chang nickel discoveries hitting good numbers. First-pass drill programs over the prospect areas have thrown up a grab bag of solid nickel-copper hits  that the company will look to build into its growing resource inventory over the coming months.

Recent drill intercepts from King Snake include 5.88 metres at 1.22 per cent nickel, 0.49 per cent copper and 4.67 grams per tonne platinum group elements, which includes 1.18m at 3.72 per cent nickel, 0.84 per cent copper and 2.41 g/t PGE from 131.74m down-hole.

Drilling at the nearby Ban Chang prospect is also delivering the goods for Blackstone with preliminary results from that target returning solid intercepts of sulphide nickel including 4m at 1.78 per cent nickel and 0.83 per cent copper from 87.7m and 3m at 1.39 per cent nickel and 0.79 per cent copper from 63.8m.

Ongoing exploration and development drilling across the Ta Khoa project is aiming to build the company’s high-grade resources as it eyes a restart of the Ban Phuc mill and the building of a larger operation across the base metals-rich mineral field.

Blackstone Minerals’ Managing Director, Scott Williamson said:“The first results from King Snake represent some of highest tenor massive sulfide intersections that Blackstone has achieved to date. The new discovery remains open and we are dedicating resources to ensure that we test the full extent of mineralisation at King Snake and build a mining inventory to be included as part of ongoing studies.”

 

The King Snake and Ban Chang discoveries lie within Blackstone’s Ta Khoa nickel project in northern Vietnam. The project sits around 160 kilometres to the west of Hanoi and occupies a strategic holding over one of Asia’s richest nickel terranes. The Ta Khoa mineral field hosts two distinct styles of mineralisation - high-grade massive nickel sulphide veins, or “MSV’s” and bulk tonnage, disseminated sulphides, or “DSS” ore systems.

Blackstone’s project stretches along more than 15km of strike across the field, with the company having now identified more than 25 separate nickel prospects for drill testing across its extensive tenure.

Whilst the company’s work program in 2020 concentrated on drilling out the substantial Ban Phuc DSS ore body adjacent to the mothballed Ban Phuc mill, ongoing exploration is systematically testing the high-grade MSV targets within the project area. Drilling is aimed at proving up high-grade resources across the nickel terrane as Blackstone eyes a restart of the Ban Phuc mill - priority targets include the Ban Chang, King Snake and Ta Cuong MSV prospects.

The sulphide mill at Ban Phuc is a modern plant which was originally commissioned in 2013 and processed ores from the adjacent Ban Phuc MSV deposit prior the operation being mothballed in 2017 due to a fall in the nickel price, which saw the specialty metal trading at below US$9,000 a tonne  on the London Metals Exchange.

However, over the last 12 months both the nickel and copper prices have been on a tear. Nickel is currently trading at over US$16,500 per tonne while copper is tracking at close to US$9,000.

Blackstone looks to be on the right track and with drilling over a nest of massive sulphide targets set to rapidly build its high-grade nickel inventory, the company may look to whip the wrappers off its Ban Phuc mill sooner, rather than later as it makes a dash for some early cashflow.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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