AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) has pulled out another thick intersection with visible spodumene from the Roche Dure pegmatite within the Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In its latest drill hole, AVZ has struck 282.95m of spodumene bearing pegmatite in similar proportions to previous holes including the whopping 295.05m thick intersection reported late last month.
Both intersections have exceeded AVZ’s anticipated 230m thickness.
“Resource drilling at the Roche Dure pegmatite is gaining momentum with the number of drill rigs onsite increasing and four rigs to be operational at site by mid-March,” AVZ executive chairman Klaus Eckhof said.
He added a fifth rig had been sourced from South Africa.
The additional rigs have been mobilised to fast-track the 20,000m drilling program.
Mr Eckhof said drill core recovery had been “excellent” to-date with nearly 100% recovered.
AVZ has pencilled in a resource estimate for the Roche Dure pegmatite early next quarter. The company is targeting 1.2 billion tonnes grading 1.5% lithium. However, this is a conceptual target and not a JORC-compliant estimate.
“Geological logging has proven that Manono is substantial in size and recent surface rock chip assay results from the southern extension of the Carriere de l’Est pegmatite confirms additional potential within this area,” Mr Eckhof claimed.
Carriere de l’Est pegmatite returns high grade lithium
Meanwhile, field work undertaken late last year at Carriere de l’Est pegmatite included rock chip samples that w assayed up to 4.33% lithium.
Once resource definition drilling at Roche Dure pegmatite has been finished, AVZ plans to drill Carriere de l’Est as a secondary target.
Although AVZ does not have a JORC-compliant resource yet, the visible thickness of intersections and high-grade lithium rock chip samples have triggered a lot of investor interest.
In the latter half of 2017, AVZ executed a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Greatpower Industry to negotiate offtake opportunities.
Huayou International Mining also secured a 11% stake in AVZ for A$13.02 million, while JNC has agreed to promote AVZ to the US market.
AVZ owns 60% of the primary Manono tenement which covers 188 square kilometres and hosts the historic Manono and Kitotolo mines. AVZ also has a 100% interest in 242.25sq km of surrounding tenements.
By early afternoon trade, shares in AVZ had risen more than 4% to reach A$0.24.