Doubles Exploration Capacity At Vietnam Project
Blackstone Minerals Limited (ASX: BSX) is accelerating exploration activity at its Ta Khoa Nickel-Cu-PGE project in Vietnam by adding a second geophysics crew and three additional drill rigs to its fleet – doubling its exploration capacity.
The addition of a fourth Blackstone owned diamond rig will afford the ompany the option to test multiple prospects simultaneously, accelerating future resource upgrades, following the completion of the Company’s maiden resource, scheduled for this quarter.
Successful deployment of Blackstone owned and operated drill rigs has provided the company with substantial cost savings, with approximately 60% reduction of per metre drilling costs relative to Australian industry averages.
Managing Director, Scott Williamson, said owning and operating four diamond drill rigs substantially increases the amount of drilling the Company can undertake relative to other companies for the same expenditure.
“Blackstone is pleased to announce that we have doubled our exploration capacity to allow us to accelerate our exploration program to rapidly unlock what’s shaping up to be a world class nickel sulfide district at Ta Khoa,” Mr Williamson said.
“We have expanded our exploration capacity by adding an additional geophysics crew and a further three drill rigs. The additions will ensure we can progress the project as rapidly as possible in a cost-effective manner.
“We are looking forward to a steady stream of drilling results during Q3 and Q4 2020 and will keep our shareholders up to date as results become available.”
Blackstone Minerals aims to deliver a maiden resource in Q3, focused initially on the disseminated sulfide (DSS) at Ban Phuc and continues to investigate the potential to restart the existing Ban Phuc concentrator through focused exploration on both MSV and DSS deposits.
It has commenced a scoping study on the downstream processing facility at Ta Khoa. The scoping study, also to be announced in Q3, will provide details for joint venture partners to formalise the next stage of investment.
It has also commenced metallurgical testing on the Ban Phuc DSS deposit with an aim to develop a flow sheet for a product suitable for the lithium-ion battery industry. In addition, the company will investigate the potential to develop downstream processing infrastructure in Vietnam to produce a downstream nickel and cobalt product to supply Asia’s growing lithium-ion battery industry.
The Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project in northern Vietnam includes an existing modern nickel mine which has been under care and maintenance since 2016 due to falling nickel prices. Existing infrastructure includes an internationally designed 450ktpa processing plant. Previous project owners focused mining and exploration efforts primarily on the MSV at Ban Phuc.
Blackstone plans to explore both MSV and DSS targets throughout the project, initially within a 5km radius of the existing processing facility. Blackstone will conduct further geophysics on the MSV and DSS targets and continue its maiden drilling campaign. Online readers can click here for footage taken from our Ta Khoa Nickel-PGE Project.