Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) says successful infill and extensional drilling at its King Cobra (KZC) and Ban Chang prospects in Vietnam have delivered “some of the best intercepts to date”.
The drilling has also upgraded confidence in the Ban Phuc disseminated sulphide deposit.
The prospects are part of Blackstone’s flagship Ta Khoa project in the South East Asian nation.
Latest intercepts comprise 127.6m at 1.17% nickel, 0.22% copper, 0.02% cobalt, and 0.24 grams per tonne platinum group elements (PGE) from 14m down hole, with a higher-grade section over 85m.
Another hole returned 96.1m at 0.83% nickel, 0.17% copper, 0.02% cobalt, and 0.26g/t PGE from 18.4m down hole, with a 50.2m higher-grade section.
Hole 39 hit 166.1m of mineralisation at 0.75% nickel, 0.16% copper, 0.01% cobalt and 0.29g/t PGE at 6.3m from surface, and its higher-grade section was intercepted at 10.5m from surface and extended over 79.8m of the drill core.
Assays underpin published mineral resource
These assays are significant because, as the company notes, they underpin its maiden indicated mineral resource of 44.3 million tonnes at 0.52% nickel for a contained 229,000t.
The results follow the recently released scoping study which demonstrates an economically robust nickel sulphide project that is intended to produce downstream nickel-cobalt-manganese precursor supplies for the lithium-ion battery industry.
Managing director Scott Williamson said drilling continues to deliver broad, consistent mineralisation that increases confidence in the “compelling” metrics outlined in the scoping study.
“The drilling results reinforce our view that the project benefits from higher grades of the KCZ which can be accessed in early years,” he added.
Targeting several veins for mining
Meanwhile, the company continues to target a number of massive sulphide vein (MSV) prospects similar to that at Ban Phuc which was mined by the previous owner of the project, and which saw output totalling 975,000t of nickel and a 1.3m-wide vein.
The scoping study foresees annual production around 12,700t of nickel over an 8.5-year project life.
Blackstone is now advancing the Ta Khoa project through to the pre-feasibility study stage.
That study will examine the option of mining the higher grade MSV veins.