Perth-based AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) is moving into pre-development phase at its Manono lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The company this morning reported a definitive feasibility study for the project was 95% complete and on track for release at end March.
The study includes options for the most suitable and cost-effective method of transporting Manono’s lithium products to port.
A team of consultants have been investigating the Tazara and other railway systems in the region with a view to selecting an optimal route.
Activities to reverse earlier flooding at the Roche Dure open pit are also almost complete, pending minor pit floor clean-up and final dewatering of residual water.
Completion of dewatering will allow AVZ to conduct further infill drilling of material underneath Roche Dure which could not be accessed while the pit was flooded.
This will assist in upgrading the mineral resource categories from inferred to indicated and from indicated to measured.
AVZ confirmed the time taken to conduct the extra drilling and sampling would not impact the study’s release.
The company has also commenced construction of sustainable accommodation facilities at Manono, to be known as Camp Colline.
Thirty recently-completed “single man” quarters will be complemented by additional accommodation for up to 150 construction personnel, plus an associated kitchen, mess, laundry and recreational facilities.
The early works program includes construction of a sewage treatment facility, an RO water treatment plant and additional power facilities for the camp.
From explorer to miner
Managing director Nigel Ferguson said the progress is changing the face of the project and the company.
“AVZ is no longer an exploration company,” he said.
“We have commenced siteworks for operations and are migrating towards becoming a fully-fledged mining company.”
Mr Ferguson said project financing arrangements and offtake agreements had been scheduled to follow the release of the DFS.
World’s largest resource
AVZ claims Manono is a “world class” asset and hosts the world’s highest-grade undeveloped hard-rock lithium project globally.
The project has a measured, indicated and inferred resource of 400 million tonnes at 1.65% spodumene, 715 parts per million tin, and 34ppm tantalum.
The resource is contained within approximately 95% of Roche Dure’s total strike.