AVZ produces outstanding “high-grade” tin concentrate from alluvial material at Manono
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Special Report: Test work on ‘alluvial’ samples sourced from the Manono lithium and tin project has produced high-grade, low-impurity casserite (tin ore), tantalum and niobium. AVZ will now kick off detailed test work programs to investigate how these alluvials can enhance Manono’s already mammoth revenue stream.
Mineral-rich alluvial soils are deposited by surface water, like rivers and floodplains. The 7km long, 2km wide Lukushi alluvial flat is located immediately to the north and downstream of the main pegmatite deposit at Manono.
Recent metallurgical test work by AVZ on ‘artisanal’ concentrate samples from six alluvial zones indicate that a high-grade +91 per cent, low-impurity cassiterite (tin ore) concentrate can be produced using conventional processing methods.
In the process of upgrading the cassiterite concentrate, a high-grade tantalum stream bearing 17 per cent to 21 per cent Ta2O5 can be produced, “which is considered an ideal saleable grade”, AVZ says.
These tantalum product streams are predominantly coltan, which return niobium grades of between 17 per cent and 21 per cent.
AVZ Minerals has been “100 per cent focused” on developing the hard rock assets at its Manono project and finalising the recently completed definitive feasibility study.
That’s why the company left any detailed work on the alluvial tin fields until a later stage in the project, AVZ managing director Nigel Ferguson says.
“We have previously announced some encouraging results from our alluvial test work program, but this latest set of results are simply outstanding with regards to recovery of not only tin but tantalum and niobium,” he says.
“Given the excellent results reported from our first two composite samples, the company will now embark on more detailed test work programs to define the potential benefit of metals within the alluvial fields at Manono and what they can add to the project revenue stream.”
Investigation will also be undertaken into beneficiation of the concentrates into ingots through establishing a furnace at Manono, such as was present on site during previous tin operations.
Despite taking a conservative approach, AVZ has outlined a compelling set of numbers in the definitive feasibility study for its massive Manono lithium and tin project.
The project in the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to generate post-tax net present value (NPV) of just over $US1bn ($1.58bn) and internal rate of return (IRR) of 33 per cent.
Both NPV and IRR are measures of a project’s anticipated profitability.
AVZ also estimated net profit after tax at $US3.8bn and a post-tax payback period of 2.25 years from the project.