Blackstone Minerals Limited (ASX: BSX) has made a significant breakthrough with the King Cobra discovery of a new, near surface higher grade zone of nickel sulphide bearing semi-massive sulphide veins (SMSV) at the Ta Khoa Nickel Project in Northern Vietnam.
Managing Director Scott Williamson said the King Cobra discovery includes near surface downhole intervals of up to 60m and visual estimates of up to 20% sulphide mineralisation.
Importantly, the discovery includes the first-ever intersection of massive sulphide vein and breccia styles of sulphide mineralisation within the Ban Phuc intrusion which may provide vectors towards the high grade “feeder zone” mineralisation.
“Blackstone is very pleased with the rapid progress and exciting results to date that are outlining a near surface, large scale disseminated Nickel – PGE deposit at Ban Phuc,” Mr Williamsomn said.
“We feel that the discovery of the King Cobra zone is a step change for exploration of the deposit. A substantial thickness of disseminated and potentially higher-grade Nickel – PGE mineralisation within a few metres of surface may prove to be a bulk mineable opportunity.”
Mr Williamson said that Blackstone has made significant strides in its plans to bring the high quality Ta Khoa Nickel – PGE Project back into operation.
Since announcing the option agreement to acquire the project in May 2019, Blackstone has drilled over 4,500 m of diamond core in over 24 holes at the Ban Phuc DSS.
The company is also well advanced with an initial scoping study evaluating mining and processing options, including potential in-country downstream processing to deliver high value nickel sulphate into Asia’s rapidly expanding electric vehicle (EV) industry.
“A recently announced MOU with Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest, EV battery cathode manufacturer, Ecopro BM Co Limited represents a significant step toward making this a reality,” Mr Williamson said.
The Ta Khoa Nickel – PGE project has a combination of large disseminated (DSS) nickel sulphide targets and 25 other prospects, including multiple high-grade massive sulphide vein (MSV) targets of the style that were mined adjacent to the current Ban Phuc DSS drilling.
The Ban Phuc Nickel mine operated for 3.5 years between 2013 and 2016, producing 20.7kt Ni, 10.1kt Cu and 0.67kt Co, before closing when the defined resources were depleted.
The high-grade Ban Phuc MSV is located less than 50m to the south of the Ban Phuc DSS deposit and remains underexplored at depths below the base of previous mining.
Many other MSV targets are within potential trucking distance of the existing 450ktpa Ban Phuc processing facility that was built to international standards, commissioned in 2013, and has been on care and maintenance since 2016.