AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) has observed a whopping 295.05m thick intersection of spodumene bearing pegmatite within its first drill hole of the current 20,000m drilling campaign at its flagship Manono project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The phase one 20,000m campaign kicked off at the beginning of this month to test the depth, extensions and thickness of the Roche Dure pegmatite, with the thickness of the first intersection exceeding AVZ’s expectation of 230m.
“The down-hole intercept based on geological logging, reaffirms the Manono lithium project as a world-class lithium asset,” AVZ executive chairman Klaus Eckhof said.
The drill hole MO18DD001 (MO18) was completed on 14 February and went to 380m depth. It was drilled about 100m from a previous drill hole MO17DD001 (MO17) which assayed at 2353.03m grading 1.66% lithium.
AVZ claims visual inspections of MO18 show “significant spodumene” throughout – with the company stating its distribution and quantity is reminiscent of MO17.
Five drill rigs were mobilised to site after short regulatory delays to ensure the program finished within the initially planned timeline.
According to AVZ, the current program is advancing, and the company anticipates a JORC-compliant resource for the project early next quarter.
AVZ estimates it is possible to achieve a resource of 1.2 billion tonnes grading 1.5% lithium for its entire project. However, this target is purely conceptual and not based on a JORC-compliant estimate.
The primary Manono tenement comprises 188 square kilometres and includes historic Manono and Kitotolo operations. AVZ owns 60% of this tenement plus 100% in surrounding tenements which amount to about 242.25sq km in additional prospective landholding.
During the December quarter last year, AVZ firmed up its drill targets with rock chip sampling along strike of the Carrier De L’est pegmatite with samples returning between 1.43% lithium and 4.46% lithium.
Despite not having a JORC-compliant resource, such thick intersections and high-grade lithium results have generated interest from potential offtake, investor and marketing parties.
In the September quarter, Huayou International Mining scooped up a 11% stake in AVZ for A$13.02 million, followed by AVZ inking a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Greatpower Industry to discuss offtake opportunities.
JNC has also agreed to promote AVZ to the US market.
AVZ’s share price soared on the news before settling up 10.53% at A$0.32 in early afternoon trade.