16/08/2021 - 16:32

AVZ hits 2 per cent plus lithium in DRC “step out” holes

16/08/2021 - 16:32

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ASX-listed central African lithium developer AVZ Minerals has completed four diamond drill holes on the Carriere de l’Este prospect at its flagship Manono hard-rock lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Intercepts grading up to 2.49 per cent lithium oxide have extended the known lithium and tin mineralisation over an impressive strike length of 1.2km.

Spodumene rich core from AVZ’s Manono hard-rock lithium project. Credit: File

ASX-listed central African lithium developer AVZ Minerals has completed four diamond drill holes on the Carriere de l’Este prospect at its flagship Manono hard-rock lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Intercepts grading up to 2.49 per cent lithium oxide have extended the known lithium and tin mineralisation over an impressive strike length of 1.2km.

All four holes were collared in pegmatites and returned a bevy of high-grade intercepts over 2 per cent lithium oxide, including 12.05m grading 2.41 per cent lithium oxide and 735 grams per tonne tin and a much thicker down-hole intercept of 21.09m at 2.1 per cent lithium oxide and 943 g/t tin. Another 16m hit graded an impressive 2.49 per cent Li20.

One 6m intercept contained within a broader 27m zone going 1.68 per cent Li20 even graded as high as 3.23 per cent.

The 12.05m intersection was contained within a broader 70.6m intersection grading a solid 1.54 per cent lithium oxide.

The company said drilling was completed 200m and 400m north-northeast along strike from the initial drill holes in 2017 and have identified encouraging high-grade spodumene rich zones that the company says may even rival its key Roche Dure deposit.

Spodumene is a lithium-rich mineral found in pegmatites and the primary source of hard-rock lithium mineralisation.

AVZ reported the wide-spaced drill out successfully extended the high-grade zones of mineralisation previously intersected to the south-west and gave a greater understanding of the geology of the “massive” deposit.

According to the company, drilling data has identified sub-cropping spodumene mineralisation along an impressive strike length of 1.2km at average pegmatite widths of up to 200m in places.

Last month AVZ announced a 41.6 per cent expansion in proved and probable open-pit ore reserves for Roche Dure to 131.7 million tonnes at average grades of 1.63 per cent lithium oxide and 990 g/t tin and an extension in predicted mine life to 29.5 years.

AVZ is in the throes of securing the all-important mining licence approval with the newly elected DRC government which it is anticipating shortly. In the meantime, the company is putting the finishing touches on its optimised definitive feasibility study, “or DFS” which is due to be released to the market any day.

AVZ Minerals Managing Director, Nigel Ferguson said: “This information will be used to plan focused infill drilling for the high-grade zones, with a closer pattern required in order to generate near surface indicated or measured resources for possible conversion to reserves, prior to the commissioning of the new processing plant.

“The possible delineation of high-grade future reserves has the potential to initially feed higher grade ore to the plant, providing increased SC6 production volumes from the start of operations.”

In its earlier DFS on Manono last year, pre-production capital costs of development were estimated at US$545 million and all-in sustaining costs of spodumene concentrate production at a very low US$371 per tonne.

A stand-out EBITDA averaging US$380 million per annum across the original 20-year life of mine forecast was contained in a company presentation earlier this month.

Complementing its lithium resources, AVZ reported it recently completed a historical review of tin exploration carried out in the 1980s and is well advanced in planning additional drilling on both eluvial laterite hosted tin deposits and the historical F2 and F4 alluvial tin deposits.

Tin prices are at record highs too of up to US$36,000 a tonne on the spot metals market due to the boom in consumer electronics.

Mr Ferguson said: “Despite future tin production accounting for only a small percentage of the project’s overall revenue, a strengthening tin and tantalum price continues to justify some exploration expenditure to gain information on the potential scale of these deposits which may sustain a separate placer tin mining business on the concession.”

 

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