14/07/2021 - 14:24

AVZ expands lithium reserves at major DRC project

14/07/2021 - 14:24

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AVZ Minerals has unveiled a 41.6 per cent increase in the proved and probable ore reserves for the centrepiece Roche Dure deposit at its monster Manono hard-rock lithium and tin project in the DRC. Reserves now stand at 131.7Mt at average grades of 1.63 per cent lithium oxide and 990 g/t tin, up from 93Mt at 1.58 per cent lithium oxide and 988 g/t tin.

Fresh from an oversubscribed $40 million capital raise, ASX-listed lithium mine developer AVZ Minerals has unveiled an impressive 41.6 per cent increase in ore reserves at the centrepiece Roche Dure deposit at its monster Manono hard-rock lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Roche Dure’s boosted open-pit ore reserves now stand at a proved and probable 131.7 million tonnes at average grades of 1.63 per cent lithium oxide and 990 grams per tonne tin, up from the previous reserves statement from April last year totalling 93Mt at 1.58 per cent lithium oxide and 988 g/t tin.

In addition to the significant tonnage uplift and improved lithium grade in the revised reserves, the Perth-based company says the projected life of mine at Manono has blown out to just under 30 years, almost a decade more than previously extrapolated, based on plant ore processing throughput of 4.5 million tonnes per annum.

AVZ also points out the latest reserves in terms of tonnage only account for about one-third of the overall measured, indicated and inferred mineral resource for Manono’s Roche Dure deposit of 401Mt of spodumene-rich fresh pegmatite grading an average 1.65 per cent lithium oxide and 752 g/t tin.

The Roche Dure ore reserves upgrade work has been undertaken in conjunction with the company’s advanced optimised definitive feasibility study or “DFS” on the proposed Manono project development.

According to management, “improvements” in the forecast capital and operating costs in the DFS mark II helped boost the reserves estimate, which was prepared by experienced international geological consulting firm CSA Global.

In the original Manono DFS published in April last year, pre-production capital costs of construction of the proposed mining and processing operation and associated infrastructure were put at US$545 million and all-in sustaining costs of spodumene concentrate production at US$371 per tonne.

Production predictions for the extended Manono mine life of 29.5 years swell to a total of 21.3 million tonnes of spodumene concentrate or about 720,000 tonnes per annum and 77,000 tonnes of 60 per cent tin concentrate.

AVZ Minerals Managing Director Nigel Ferguson said: “Improvements in both capex and opex figures from our optimised engineering studies have also contributed to this significant ore reserve increase, with details on these study areas to be reported soon.”

“The upgraded JORC ore reserve estimates along with our optimised engineering studies and ongoing funding studies, have delivered a major step forward for the company as we strategically advance the Manono project towards a full bankable status in the near future.”

The optimised DFS is due to be released to the market any day now and AVZ hopes to make a final investment decision later in the current quarter, contingent on securing the all-important mining licence approval, which it is anticipating shortly.

Funds from AVZ’s recent $40 million share placement will enable the company to exercise its options to buy a further 15 per cent stake in the Manono project from Dathomir Mining Resources for US$20 million and as a result move to 75 per cent ownership of the giant asset.

AVZ included a stonking annual EBITDA projection for Manono – on a 100 per cent ownership basis – averaging US$380 million a year across the initial 20-year life of mine estimate in its capital raise presentation earlier this month.

 

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