AVZ Minerals says it’s started a 20,000 metre drilling program at the Manono lithium project that chairman Klaus Eckhof has described as one of the “longest pegmatite intercepts ever reported”.

Pegmatites are rocks formed from lava or magma that are the primary source of lithium.

The company’s (ASX:AVZ) latest program is intended to confirm high volume lithium and tin discoveries at depths of 235-251 metres at the site in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The rig is set up at the Roche Dure formation in the Kitotolo sector. Geologists will be testing the depth and thickness of the pegmatite, which is expected to be about 230 metres thick.

Contractor Equity Drilling will operate five drill rigs by mid-February and a JORC compliant resource will be calculated in April.

The second drill hole will be beneath the initial MO17DD001 hole. Pic: AVZ
The second drill hole will be beneath the initial MO17DD001 hole. Pic: AVZ

“To our knowledge, this is the longest pegmatite intercept ever reported,” Mr Eckhof said in September.

AVZ shares lifted 5.6 per cent to 28.5c in Thursday morning trade.

The stock has come off slightly from the extravagant heights of 36.5c in early January, when it had a market cap of $538 million.

The explorer, which is yet to produce any lithium or sign any sales or offtake agreements, is still worth half a billion dollars on expectation that it can deliver on Mr Eckhof’s hopes.

AVZ has $13.3 million to spend on exploratory drilling and building a mine. It plans to spend $6 million in this quarter on just that.