ASX-listed AVZ Minerals has confirmed the increased resource confidence levels of its 60% owned Manono lithium and tin project in the DRC’s Tanganyika Province after announcing a significant upgrade in the current mineral resource.
DRC - The mineral resource stated at 400 Mt with an average grade of 1.65% Li2O (spodumene) is categorised into measured, indicated and inferred mineral resources.
This mineral resource includes assay data from 86 drill holes on 1 600 m of strike length, and geological data from a further 5 drill holes to enable interpretation of a geological model.
AVZ Minerals’ MD Nigel Ferguson says:
“This resource upgrade represents another major step forward in the company’s plans for development of Manono. This update provides further assurances as to the demonstrated world-class scale, grade and nature of the project.”
“We are encouraged by the results of the upgrade in resource categories which were expected given the results of the drilling programme. This ongoing work shows us that Manono will continue to grow significantly and will be underpinned by a high grade measured and indicated mineral resource for the majority of the Roche Dure pegmatite drilled to date.”
“The greatly increased confidence level in sections of the Roche Dure mineral resource is more than sufficient to support the production schedules and financial modelling within the 5 Mtpa scoping study, which is now close to completion.”
The reported mineral resource of 400 Mt at a grade of 1.65% Li2O also contains tin at an average grade of 715 ppm (in cassiterite) and tantalum at a grade of 34 ppm (in tantalite). There is now a better understanding on the distribution of these minerals with low and high grade zones being defined.
The reported measured and indicated lithium mineral resource below the weathered pegmatite includes grades of 816 ppm Sn (220 Kt Sn in cassiterite) and 36 ppm Ta (9.6Kt Ta as Ta2O5).
Additionally, a tin and tantalum mineral resource is reported in the weathered pegmatite zone close to surface.
“With Manono confirmed as the world’s largest lithium deposit, we are increasingly confident that the project will continue to develop into production and potentially become a world leading source of lithium and tin.”
Definitive feasibility study update
Management continues to progress the DFS.
Work is proceeding on site with geotechnical, hydrogeological and environmental impact assessment investigations whilst pit dewatering will be undertaken.
In addition, the JORC mineral resource is expected to be upgraded further on the back of several in-pit, drill holes to be completed once the Roche Dure pit has been dewatered over the coming months. It is likely that these holes will be drilled via RC drilling, which is both cheaper and faster than diamond drilling.
These drill holes will also be utilised for future grade control drilling during mining. Additionally, geotechnical investigations will be commenced for all planned plant and tailings storage facilities on site.
AVZ has been awaiting receipt of some 13 t of metallurgical core sample from five drill holes completed at Roche Dure. This material has now arrived in Western Australia and is undergoing customs and quarantine inspections which are particularly stringent on materials imported from Africa.
However, the planned test-work of this material is obviously now overdue given its late departure from the DRC caused by transport issues associated with the wet season and the recent country-wide elections.
Additionally, receipt of the transport study for the extended scoping study work was delayed in its presentation to the company. The planned met test work and the transport study are both critical path items for completion of the DFS and the delays incurred have impacted the schedule by approximately three months.
The DFS is thus now planned for completion in Q1, 2020 and allowance has been made in the overall project planning for an additional quarter in case of further unforeseen delays. This buffer may not be required.
AVZ continues to make every effort to reduce the period required for completion of the DFS.