Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has revealed more nickel-copper and platinum group element intercepts, including a discovery at Ta Cuong, from drilling at its Ta Khoa project in Vietnam’s north.
Drilling at Ta Cuong led to the Taipan discovery zone with a hole intercepting 35.25 at 0.9% nickel, 0.6% copper, 0.05% cobalt and 0.5 grams per tonne PGE from 18.35m, including 20.4m at 1.35% nickel, 0.8% copper, 0.07% cobalt and 0.72g/t PGE from 27m.
Ta Cuong is 6km along strike from the Ban Phuc massive sulphide vein (MSV) nickel mine and processing infrastructure.
Blackstone noted the prospect was hosted by similar mineralisation to other targets at Ta Khoa including Ban Phuc, King Snake and Ban Chang.
Drilling at King Snake has returned “excellent” assays, which Blackstone says confirms the prospect’s potential to add to the project’s overall mining inventory.
The latest highlight hits at King Snake are 5.55m at 1.35% nickel, 0.45% copper, 0.05% cobalt and 1.28g/t PGE from 204m, including 1.19m at 3.56% nickel, 0.98% copper, 0.13% cobalt and 3.1g/t PGE from 205.38m; and 10.45m at 0.32% nickel, 0.22% copper, 0.02% cobalt and 0.33g/t PGE from 194m, including 0.63m at 3.77% nickel, 2.11% copper, 0.15% cobalt and 2.33g/t PGE from 202.8m.
Blackstone has firmed up 800m of strike at King Snake. Drilling is focussing on new electromagnetic targets to the west of historic results.
“Initial assay results from current reporting and visual inspection suggest greater thickness of sulphide mineralisation down plunge of historic drilling,” Blackstone noted.
Over at the Ban Chang prospect, which is 2.5km from processing infrastructure, infill drilling is underway.
Latest notable intercepts are 18.28m at 0.44% nickel, 0.41% copper, 0.03% cobalt and 0.31g/t PGE from 64.72m, including 5.65m at 1.07% nickel, 0.53% copper, 0.06% cobalt and 0.51g/t PGE from 68.75m; and 15.3m at 0.72% nickel, 0.45% copper, 0.04% cobalt and 0.36g/t PGE from 42.3m, including 5.01m at 1.67% nickel, 1.01% copper, 0.09% cobalt and 0.95g/t PGE from 50.62m.
At Ban Chang, Blackstone said the mineralisation style lends itself to a mechanised underground mining scenario, with studies underway.
Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said Ban Chang, King Snake and Ta Cuong will be included in the upstream business unit pre-feasibility study that incorporates re-starting the 450,000t per annum processing plant.
The company plans to use higher-grade MSV mineralisation found at the prospects for the plant.
“This will enable significant capital expenditure to be deferred for the 4-6Mtpa concentrator designed to treat our larger bulk disseminated orebodies such as Ban Phuc,” he said.
“We will continue to test additional MSV targets throughout the Ta Khoa district to build an inventory of high-grade feedstock for our downstream refinery business,” Mr Williamson added.