A maiden drilling program at the Ban Chang prospect in Blackstone Minerals’ (ASX: BSX) northern Vietnam nickel-platinum group elements (PGE) project has hit broad zones of high-grade massive sulphide nickel.
The company today reported results from four holes drilled at the prospect, located within the Ta Khoa project, which intersected high-grade zones almost 15m wide and grading up to 3.32% nickel, 3.89% copper and 1.65 grams per tonne PGE.
The latest intercepts add to the high-grade nickel-copper-PGE results already encountered at the prospect from the first four maiden holes, reported in August.
According to Blackstone, the Ban Chang maiden drill holes have hit high-grade massive sulphide nickel over a 1.2km strike within a massive sulphide target zone now extended to more than 2km strike.
The new results also follow the company’s recent blind discovery of massive sulphide nickel targets at the Viper discovery zone with a series of new shallow electromagnetic anomalies located about 200m northeast of Ban Chang East.
“Drilling continues to deliver consistent, broad intersections of nickel sulphide mineralisation from shallow depths, with average widths of about 10m throughout most of the Ban Chang prospect, and broader zones within Ban Chang East, with greater than 20m wide intersections, of potentially bulk‐mineable grade nickel-copper-PGE mineralisation,” Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said.
He said Ban Chang will continue to be drilled out over the coming months ahead of upgrading the project’s resource inventory by the end of the 2020 calendar year.
“We are continuing to systematically test 25 massive sulphide vein targets throughout the Ta Khoa nickel-copper-PGE district to add further high‐grade feed to our bulk open pit mining scenario at Ban Phuc and the King Cobra discovery zone (KCZ),” Mr Williamson added.
The best intercept from today’s announcement was 14.65m wide and grading at 0.74% nickel, 0.71% copper, 0.04% cobalt and 0.54g/t PGE from 45m, including 5.85m at 1.62% nickel, 1.47% copper, 0.08% cobalt and 1.09g/t PGE, and 0.87m at 3.32% nickel, 3.89% copper, 0.16% cobalt and 1.65g/t PGE.
Other highlights from the latest round of assays include 9.6m at 0.84% nickel, 0.73% copper, 0.05% cobalt and 0.7g/t PGE from 57m; and 4.8m at 0.71% nickel, 0.81% copper, 0.06% cobalt and 0.46g/t PGE from 39m.
Aggressive exploration continues
Blackstone said it is continuing its aggressive exploration program with six drill rigs (four owned by the company). Three rigs are testing massive sulphide vein targets at Ban Chang while the other three test down-dip extensions at the KCZ at Ban Phuc.
Both the Ban Phuc maiden resource estimate and a scoping study on downstream processing to produce nickel sulphate for lithium-ion battery industry are still on track for completion by the end of September.