Special Report: AVZ could significantly reduce operating costs at its massive Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic of Congo after successfully recovering both tin and tantalum during metallurgical test work.

Preliminary work achieved total tin recovery of 63 per cent from combined coarse plus fine fractions at a grade of 64.1 per cent tin oxide (SnO2).

AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) managing director Nigel Ferguson says the tin grades of more than 60 per cent from both size ranges made for highly saleable products that could contribute to reducing overall operating costs.

Any tin production from Manono could supply “significant and growing demand from the electronics market”, he says. “AVZ is currently in discussions with several potential off take partners in this field.”

Ferguson added that as recovery of tantalum as coltan has only been achieved from the cassiterite (tin) at this time, further work would be required that could potentially include the use of an on-site smelter to produce metal ingots for both security purposes and ease of transport.

Tantalum and niobium recoveries from the fines were 41 per cent and 24 per cent with losses reporting to the fines tailing stream. Not enough tantalum was recovered from the coarser sizes to warrant reporting.

Coarse tin concentrate manono DRC avz minerals
Coarse tin concentrate from alluvial material. Pic: Supplied

Further work will be carried out to explore alternative economic and saleable concentrate options.

Ferguson also says the company is investigating recovery of coarse tin concentrate from alluvial material that is present in significant quantities across the concession.

“As part of our social development programme, and in line with transparency in the supply of these minerals from Manono, we have commenced analysis of these alluvial heavy minerals to determine if the metal values warrant further investigation,” he said.

A composite sample collected from across the site confirms tin values ranging from 29.5 per cent to 71.5 per cent cassiterite, which confirms historical reports by independent geological consultants, Bear Dolhbere, of a significant alluvial tin field at Manono.

The latest work follows up on the company’s phase two flotation tests, which returned consistent recoveries averaging 69 per cent lithium after adjusting for losses to slimes, magnetic separation and flotation tailing.

This work produced a spodumene concentrate with grades ranging from 6.1 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) to 6.4 per cent Li2O, above its target of 6 per cent Li2O.

Read: Things are looking up for Chinese lithium demand in 2020 despite coronavirus fears: Platts



This story was developed in collaboration with AVZ, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This story does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.