Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has now uncovered massive sulphide nickel in all three maiden drill holes at Ban Chang with mineralisation now identified over 1km of strike at the prospect which is part of the company’s Ta Khoa project in Vietnam.
In this latest drill hole at Ban Chang, Blackstone intersected a 9.15m thick zone of sulphide vein mineralisation, which contained intervals of massive sulphide and semi-massive sulphide veins.
Commenting on the latest intersection, Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said results at Ban Chang to-date indicate a potential bulk underground mining scenario could be possible.
“We’ll continue to explore Ban Chang’s potential to become a supplementary high-grade feed source to the main Ban Phuc disseminated sulphide orebody, with further holes planned for drilling in this area,” Mr Williamson added.
The three maiden holes have been drilled on a 1.2km anomaly that was defined by high-priority electromagnetic (EM) plates.
Today’s news follows the company’s first two holes at Ban Chang which both hit massive sulphide and were 200m apart.
Ban Chang is 2.5km south-east of the project’s Ban Phuc deposit and processing facility, which is adjacent to the Chim Van-Co Muong fault system.
Meanwhile the Ban Chang West target has been identified over 420m and believed to host massive sulphide vein lenses.
Historical mapping and sampling at the prospect in the early 1960s uncovered 3.9m at 1.07% nickel and 0.95% copper, including 1.1m at 1.62% nickel and 1.48% copper.
Drilling has hit 1.7m at 1.89% nickel and 0.91% from 62.9m; and 1m at 2.65% nickel and 1.07% copper from 58.5m.
Advancing Ta Khoa
Ongoing exploration is part of Blackstone’s strategy to uncover more nickel sulphides and build its resource inventory at Ta Khoa.
To-date, Blackstone has firmed up a combination of large disseminated nickel sulphide targets and 25 prospects including numerous high-grade massive sulphide targets similar to Ban Phuc, which was mined between 2013 and 2016.
During its three years of operation, Ban Phuc produced 20,700t of nickel, 10,100t of copper and 670,000t of cobalt.
Blackstone noted the high-grade Ban Phuc massive sulphide vein is less than 50m south of the previous mine and remains underexplored.
The company added that many of its massive sulphide targets were within trucking distance of the existing 450,000t per annum processing facility, which has been on care and maintenance since 2016.
During the 2020 field season, Blackstone plans to test its other targets to firm up a commercial mining operation.
“Blackstone believes the Ta Khoa project represents a true district scale nickel-platinum group element sulphide opportunity of a calibre rarely controlled by a junior,” the company stated.
Ta Khoa is also close to low cost hydro-electric power, a skilled workforce and is located in a region that has become a hub for electronics and battery manufacturing which has mounting demand for nickel sulphate.
A maiden resource for Ta Khoa is scheduled for the December quarter.
Additionally, Blackstone has begun a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa. The results of this study are expected to provide details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.
The downstream processing potential has been supported by a $6.8 million investment from the world’s second largest nickel-rich cathode materials manufacturer EcoPro Co Ltd.