AVZ makes strides in further increasing the confidence of Manono lithium project
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Special Report: AVZ Minerals has reported positive results from initial metallurgical testwork aimed at boosting the confidence of its Manono lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
And now new test work indicates that material from the Roche Dure target has similar crushing and grinding characteristics and rock strengths to other well-known lithium pegmatite ores.
Pegmatites, which are rocks formed from lava or magma, are the primary source of lithium.
With selected drill core interval grade variability ranging from non-mineralised pegmatite (which would be treated as waste) to 4 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O), the average grade of the bulk sample is extremely close to the overall grade of the Roche Dure orebody.
Heavy liquid separation test work is now under way on a 200kg bulk sample sub-set prepared using core intervals from four metallurgical PQ diamond drill holes.
PQ refers to the tube size used when drilling and determines the diameter of the drill core. PQ is the largest of the five standard tube sizes.
Managing director Nigel Ferguson said the average results for the initial bulk sample were within acceptable ranges for the Roche Dure deposit, with Li2O reported at 1.58 per cent, tin oxide at 0.158 per cent, tantalum pentoxide at 0.005 per cent and ferric (iron) oxide at 0.34 per cent.
“Metallurgical test work study results are now starting to come through from our test laboratories with encouraging results from the phase one program,” he said.
“It is very pleasing to see the continued upgrading of confidence in the mineral resource at Roche Dure.”
The next step is to take theoretical data characterisation results from the heavy liquid separation work and apply those to the Roche Dure prospect material.
Phase one characterisation test work is almost complete, and phase two confirmatory test work is being planned for early commencement.
An extended scoping study for the proposed 5-million-tonne-per-annum operation indicates that the Manono project has the potential to be a world-class, high margin, long-life mine.
The study estimates that Manono will have a net present value (before tax and royalties) of $US2.63 billion ($3.9 billion) and an internal rate of return (IRR) of greater than 64 per cent.
IRR and NPV are used to estimate the profitability of a potential operation – the higher they are above zero, the better they are.