AVZ Minerals has signed a drilling contract for its much-lauded Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

AVZ Minerals chairman Klaus Eckhof last month announced the Manono project as “one of the finest” pegmatite intercepts ever reported”.

Pegmatites are rocks formed from lava or magma that often contain rare earth minerals and crystals. They are the primary source of lithium.

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

AVZ shares have since rocketed into the stratosphere. The shares this week hit a record high of 24c — up from 1c a year ago.

AVZ will now move four drill rigs to its Kitotolo and Manono sectors in December to complete a 20,000 metre program by March.

Drilling will initially target the Roche Dure pegmatite in Kitotolo.

AVZ shares were down slightly to 21c in morning trade on Wednesday.

AVZ Minerals has soared from 1c to 24c in a year. Source: Investing.com

Early results indicate high levels of lithium oxide at a depth of 251 metres, measured at 1.48 per cent volume.

The next drilling results should indicate how valuable the resources really is, with the company warning that so far there’s been insufficient exploration to estimate a mineral resource yet.

Mr Eckhoff came under fire for selling a quarter of his shares in September, and the company has been a hot topic in investor gossip circles since.