Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) is gearing up to expand its nickel footprint in Vietnam after it announced a collaboration with the Vietnamese Government to identify new opportunities in the region.
The new opportunities will be explored outside of Blackstone’s flagship Ta Khoa nickel-copper-platinum group element project in the country’s north.
Under the collaboration, Blackstone’s 90% owned subsidiary Ban Phuc Nickel Mines (BPNM) will work with the General Department of Geology and Minerals Vietnam (GDGMV).
Chim Van nickel target
Initial work will comprise advancing the Chim Van target, which is believed highly prospective and only 10km from Blackstone’s Ban Phuc open pit nickel deposit.
BPNM will provide the technical expertise and equipment to help GDGMV firm up nickel potential at Chim Van.
Once GDGMV has completed its work over Chim Van, BPNM plans to lodge an application for an exploration licence.
Previous work at Chim Van
A large magnetic anomaly has been noted at Chim Van that could reflect the presence of an ultramafic-mafic intrusion larger than the Ban Phuc ultramafic intrusion.
Meanwhile, historical geological mapping and sampling at Chim Van with up to 1.13% nickel and 0.37% copper identified via portable XRF in gossan samples.
Blackstone managing director Scott Williamson said the company was “delighted” to be working with GDGMV to uncover the geological potential at Chim Van.
“The Chim Van target is located in proximity to the existing Ta Khoa footprint and would leverage the company’s current development plans, which includes the construction of a large concentrator adjacent to significant existing mineral resource at Ban Phuc.”
“The development of the Ta Khoa downstream refinery will be underpinned by Blackstone’s strategy to secure supply.”
Mr Williamson said Chim Van was an example of growth opportunities in the Ta Khoa district and, more broadly, Northern Vietnam.
Ta Khoa nickel project
Using ore mined from Ta Khoa and sourced from third parties, Blackstone’s strategy is to generate precursor chemicals for South East Asia’s lithium-ion battery sector.
Ta Khoa hosts 25 massive sulphide vein and disseminated sulphide targets across its 34.8sq km of tenements.