High-profile mining entrpreneur Klaus Eckhof says he plans to remain involved with AVZ Minerals — and will hold on to his remaining shareholding — despite resigning today as chairman of the lithium explorer.

“Nothing will change,” he told Stockhead this afternoon following today’s dramatic news of his resignation.

“The only thing that will change is I’m not the chairman.

“I basically put it together, so it would be difficult for somebody to come in and just do everything that I’ve done to date.”

Mr Eckhof said he had achieved what he wanted to as chairman and it was now time to exit the role.

“At the end of the day we are pretty close to the resource anyway and the next step is going into production,” he said.

“That’s not really what I do. For me everything that I wanted I achieved.

“It’s a world-class resource coming out in the next four weeks and that’s all I needed. The rest is for other people to do.”

AVZ said on Thursday it had notched a new record while drilling for lithium in the Congo, pushing the stock up to 11.5c — its highest point in three weeks.

AVZ (ASX:AVZ) is preparing to release a maiden lithium resource for its Manono project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is due out in July.

AVZ has been one of the ASX’s most closely-followed small cap resources stocks since September when it announced one of the “longest pegmatite intercepts ever reported” at the Manono project.

AVZ Minerals shares over the past 12 months

Mr Eckhof’s exit from the chairman’s seat at AVZ comes close on the heels of the sale of more than half his stake in the company.

The news created a buzz among investors, but Mr Eckhof says he is hanging onto the remainder of his shareholding for now.

“I don’t need to sell those ones at the moment,” he said.

Mr Eckhof wanted to quiet speculation that he was responsible for the recent share price tumble as a result of selling down his stake.

“At the end of the day if you look at the volumes, the week when I sold 20 million shares, 880 million shares traded,” he said.

“So the drop in the share price was not me. I had a lot of phone calls about it that the share price collapsed because I was dumping all my shares.

“I mean 880 million and I sold 20 million over the course of the week — that didn’t really have any impact whatsoever.”

Mr Eckhof also poured cold water on rumours that he would be stepping down from any other boards.

“I’m actually looking at taking on a couple of new shells,” he said. “A lot of people have approached me now and asked if I can come on and help them.”