Perth-based Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has hit massive sulphide vein (MSV) mineralisation in multiple drill holes during a maiden exploration program at the polymetallic King Snake prospect within the Ta Khoa nickel project in Vietnam.
The company said the discovery has reaffirmed the prospectivity of the region and its strategy in defining high-grade nickel targets using electromagnetic techniques.
The King Snake work followed up EM targets defined by the company’s geophysics team in November, with six of the first seven drillholes intersecting MSVs with associated disseminated sulphides (DSS) over an 800m strike and open in all directions.
Samples from these holes have been sent for assaying however Blackstone said prolonged delays in processing will impact the turnaround of results.
Managing Director Scott Williamson said the exploration investment at Ta Khoa continues to pay dividends for the company as it seeks to restart the mothballed 450,000t per annum Ban Phuc processing facility.
“We are targeting higher-grade MSV deposits [and] we will pursue an aggressive drilling program at King Snake as we look to build a high-grade MSV mining inventory to support the restart,” he said.
“The drill bit continues to highlight the district-scale opportunity at Ta Khoa, which we are confident will provide many years of consistent high-quality nickel-copper-PGE (platinum group elements) concentrates to our planned downstream refinery business.”
Mr Williamson said the company would continue to test the EM targets with follow-up holes designed to extend the known mineralisation along strike and down plunge, with a view to defining a maiden resource at King Snake later this year.
Blackstone is focused on building an integrated upstream and downstream processing business in Vietnam producing precursor nickel-cobalt-manganese for Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.
Upstream at the Ta Khoa mine site, the company is exploring MSV and DSS targets, initially within a 5km radius of the Ban Phuc concentrator, and will conduct further geophysics to continue its aggressive drilling campaign.
It has completed a scoping study which includes mining a maiden resource at the Ban Phuc DSS orebody and the construction of one downstream refinery.
The company is now advancing the Ta Khoa project through to a pre-feasibility study which will explore the option of mining higher-grade MSV deposits with potential to reduce upfront capital requirements by enabling the restart of Ban Phuc.