Special Report: AVZ Minerals has substantially increased the tonnage and confidence of its lithium resource in the Congo — officially making its Manono project the “world’s largest lithium deposit”.

The resource has increased by a solid 54.1 per cent to 400.4 million tonnes containing 6.64 million tonnes of lithium oxide (at an average grade of 1.66 per cent), 300,000 tonnes of tin and 13,200 tonnes of tantalum.

“More importantly this includes more than a doubling of the measured resource category to over 93 million tonnes following infill drilling since August 2018,” managing director Nigel Ferguson said.

“This greatly increases confidence levels in the central section of the Roche Dure orebody.”

The measured resource jumped from 43 million tonnes to 93.5 million tonnes, while the indicated resource now stands at 96.3 million tonnes.

AVZ also added a further 98.5 million tonnes to the inferred resource, marking a nearly 88 per cent increase to take it to 210.7 million tonnes.

Mineral resources are categorised in order of increasing geological confidence as inferred, indicated or measured.

A measured resource represents the highest level of geologic knowledge and confidence.

These resources can be converted to reserves after applying engineering and mining parameters, which are categories that are commercially recoverable using existing technology.

Mr Ferguson said the overall increase in the total resource is more than ample to underpin the ongoing internal scoping studies for a potential 5 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) operation.

It follows very close on the heels of AVZ’s recently published, revised figures for a 2Mtpa project, which indicated very strong economic fundamentals for the Manono lithium project.

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On top of that there is also a significant increase in the tin and tantalum resource, which is expected to provide a significant offset in the operating costs for the planned processing plant.

The resource also has one of lowest grades of ferric oxide (Fe2O3) — which is a potentially deleterious element — compared to other hard rock deposits being developed by ASX-listed players.

The updated resource was estimated on about 1600m of strike length of the Roche Dure target.

While about 95 per cent of the strike of Roche Dure has now been drilled, and shown to carry significant spodumene mineralisation, the down-dip extensions of these new areas remain to be tested down to the targeted 350m depth.

Spodumene is the main lithium bearing mineral mined from most hard rock lithium mines around the world.

This means there is still underexplored down dip extensions to the Roche Dure orebody to be reported on — which increases the potential for a bigger resource again.

“With drilling at Roche Dure currently winding up for the year, these resource figures are expected to rise further in 2019 as data continues to come in from final few, but strategic, drill holes completed,” Mr Ferguson said.

AVZ is also waiting for the results of a six-hole, wide-spaced, reconnaissance drilling program undertaken on the “Carriere de L’Este” target in the northern part of the project which will be reported early next year which is touted with resource potential greater than Roche Dure.

“With Manono now confirmed as the world’s largest lithium deposit and drill results from the last quarter of 2018 still pending, we are confident that the Manono project will continue to grow and potentially become a world leading source of lithium,” Mr Ferguson said.


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