AVZ test work reaches 6% lithium oxide threshold

AVZ Minerals is on the home stretch of its mammoth definitive feasibility study which is due to hit the market next month, with phase two metallurgical test work delivering another exceptional batch of results that reinforce the potential economic viability of its Manono lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

AVZ has now completed a second run of dense media separation, or “DMS” test work, including a bulk run comprising a 2,000-kilogram sample that yielded a 160-kilogram concentrate grading 6.1% lithium oxide with lithia recovery over 61%. 

Whilst there is some level of variability depending on end use, markets generally want a lithium concentrate of over 6% lithium oxide which makes AVZ’s latest test work very significant. 

AVZ’s Managing Director, Mr. Nigel Ferguson, said: “Our Phase 2 test work is now complete and has delivered exceptional results in terms of lithia recovery and supporting the selected DFS flowsheet. 

“Furthermore, the product grade and recovery confirm both the reproducibility of testing and high degree of flexibility in attaining economic graded products.” 

“Tin and tantalum recovery test work is progressing very well with some very encouraging intermediate results and we have now produced a -0.5mm gravity product ready for further dressing test work.” 

AVZ’s pegmatite-hosted ore system is dominated by lithium spodumene mineralisation which is a product sought-after by lithium-ion battery manufacturers. 

Spodumene is typically beneficiated from hard rock lithium ores by DMS at coarser grind sizes and then finer products are “floated” to produce a lithium oxide concentrate for export. 

According to the company, concentrate grade specifications by battery manufacturers can sometimes be as low as 5% lithium oxide, placing its latest metallurgical work showing a grade of 6.3%, well above the market dictated grade. 

To put these metallurgical results into some perspective, AVZ has previously tabled some lithium concentrations from a series of global hard rock producers, where the public disclosure information was available.

It said the average chemical lithium concentrate grade amongst its sample basket of seven producers showed an average concentrate grade of 5.88%. 

AVZ’s market cap is now hovering around $216m after doubling in recent months.

Its flagship Manono project plays host to a tier-one sized 400m tonne resource grading 1.65% lithium oxide and 715 parts per million tin. 

Despite the lithium market coming off its highs last year, giant Australian conglomerate, Wesfarmers still paid $776m for 50% of Kidman Resources’ Mt Holland project that holds a resource of just 189 million tonnes going 1.5% lithium oxide.


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