Blackstone Commences First Drill Program at  Ban Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE Target

Blackstone commences drilling at the Ban Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE prospect after its in-house geophysics crew generated new targets associated with the highly prospective Ban Khoa ultramafic intrusion;

  • Blackstone commences drilling at the Ban Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE prospect after its in-house geophysics crew generated new targets associated with the highly prospective Ban Khoa ultramafic intrusion;
  • Ban Khoa is located ~1.5km north of the flagship Ban Phuc deposit (see Figure 1);
  • The Ban Khoa prospect is analogous to the Ban Phuc Disseminated Sulfide (DSS) orebody where the company has delivered the King Cobra discovery and recently announced the maiden Indicated Mineral Resource of 44.3Mt @ 0.52% Ni for 229kt Ni and Inferred Mineral Resource of 14.3Mt @ 0.35% Ni for 50kt Ni (see ASX Announcement 14 October 2020);
  • Drilling at Ban Khoa by previous owners did not target electromagnetic (EM) plates; Blackstone’s geophysics crew will use EM to refine the targets at Ban Khoa for high impact drilling;
  • Historic drill holes from Ban Khoa returned results including (see ASX Announcement 29 May, 2020, see Figures 2 & 3 and Tables 1 & 2):

BK02 incl. 33.2m @ 0.76% Ni from 174.5m
incl. 15.0m @ 1.03% Ni from 174.5m
BK03 58.3m @ 0.52% Ni from 197.6m
incl. 5.6m @ 1.03% Ni from 203.7m
BK06 21.9m @ 0.5% Ni from 60.1m
BK07 63.7m @ 0.4% Ni from 136.8m
BK08 14.7m @ 0.81% Ni from 114.7m
incl. 9.4m @ 1.02% Ni from 120.0m

  • Ban Khoa has a combination of high priority Massive Sulfide Vein (MSV) prospects within a broader DSS target associated with the Ban Khoa ultramafic intrusion;
  • Blackstone continues to target MSV prospects analogous to the previously mined Ban Phuc MSV, where previous owners successfully mined 975kt of high grade ore at average grades of 2.4% Ni & 1.0% Cu from an average vein width of 1.3m for 3.5 years between 2013 and 2016, producing 20.7kt Ni, 10.1kt Cu and 0.67kt Co;
  • A recently purchased seventh drill rig (in addition to two drill contractor rigs) will continue to follow the geophysics crew throughout the Ta Khoa nickel sulfide district, testing high priority EM targets generated from 25 MSV prospects including Ban Chang, Ta Cuong, Ban Khoa and King Snake (see Figure 1);
  • Drilling continues at the King Cobra Discovery zone (KCZ), Ban Chang and Ta Cuong;
  • Blackstone’s recently announced scoping study on the Ban Phuc DSS orebody highlighted an economically robust nickel sulfide project to produce downstream Nickel:Cobalt:Manganese (NCM) Precursor products for the Lithium-ion battery industry (see ASX Announcement 14 October 2020);
  • Scoping study estimated annual production of ~12.7ktpa Ni over 8.5 years project life generating a Pre‐tax NPV8% of ~US$665m and ~45% IRR with a capital payback period of 2.5 years at US$8/lb Ni (see ASX announcement 14 October 2020).

Blackstone Minerals’ Managing Director Scott Williamson commented:

“We are very excited to commence exploration at Ban Khoa. Based on geological similarities and historical results, we believe it has the potential to deliver similar results to Ban Phuc. The geology at Ban Khoa is relatively well-understood given the historic drillings and we have refined our targets using modern geophysics. Exploration success here could add meaningful inventory, extend mine life and improve the economics demonstrated in our recently completed scoping study.”

“We continue to systematically test our 25 MSV prospects and with our in-house geophysics crew and Blackstone-owned drill rigs, we can cost effectively explore this globally significant nickel sulfide district using modern geophysical techniques. We see potential to increase annual nickel production from the Ta Khoa Nickel-Cu-PGE project through targeting highgrade MSV to complement the base load nickel sulfide feed from the Ban Phuc DSS and King Cobra discovery zone.”

Click here to view full announcement

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