As it rapidly advances its Manono hard rock lithium project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) has revealed an updated resource with more mineralisation now in the indicated category.
AVZ noted pit floor drilling of the “wedge” beneath the proposed Roche Dure pit floor, which was previously regarded as waste, has bumped more resources into the indicated category.
Indicated resources for Roche Dure have increased by 12 million tonnes, with measured and indicated combined totalling 274Mt at 1.66% lithium, 830 parts per million tin, and 35ppm tantalum for 4.53Mt of contained lithium.
All up, including inferred, indicated and measured, the resource stands at 401Mt at 1.65% lithium, 752ppm tin, and 34ppm tantalum for 6.64Mt of lithium.
To update the resource, AVZ dewatered the Roche Dure pit and drilled nine diamond holes, with all holes collared in pegmatite. Fresh spodumene-bearing pegmatite was also encountered within the first 10m in all holes bar one, which hit this material from 16m.
“These additional tonnes, located at shallow depth in the existing pit, are expected to result in fundamental improvements to the mine design and schedule as the optimised mine model will treat the wedge material as ore, rather than waste,” AVZ managing director Nigel Ferguson explained.
“The lower strip ratio resulting from the increase in ore mined over the optimised mine plan, coupled with lower life of mine cost assumptions, is expected to have a positive impact on the optimised definitive feasibility study to be completed next month, which will greatly assist our discussions with prospective financiers.”
Today’s resource upgrade follows AVZ’s announcement last week it was evaluating the potential of a standalone alluvial tin operation at Manono.
AVZ engaged UK-based Behre Dolbear International to review historic data and it revealed a tin exploration target for the Likushi alluvial plain area of 25M cubic metres to 75Mm3 (diluted) 75 grams per cubic metre to 180g/m3.
The target area covers 14 square kilometres.
This is in addition to the tin included in the current JORC resource.
AVZ’s strategy behind the tin assessment is the potential to provide further cash flow from the project.