Advanced explorer AVZ Minerals (ASX: AVZ) has announced a 41.6% increase to proved and probable reserves at its Manono lithium-tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The new estimate contains 65 million tonnes of proved reserves and 66.6Mt of probable, taking total reserves to 131.6Mt compared to 93Mt reported in the project’s definitive feasibility study (DFS) released last year.
The average lithium grade has increased from 1.58% to 1.63% lithium oxide while the tin grade of 990 parts per million remains the same.
Contained tin metal has been boosted by 41% to 130,300t.
The upgraded numbers have underpinned a 47.5% extension to Manono’s proposed life of mine to 29.5 years.
The extension increases life of mine figures presented in the DFS and is based on a 4.5Mt per year operation.
Managing director Nigel Ferguson said the upgraded estimates have been a significant achievement in Manono’s development.
“Improvements in capital and operating expenditure figures from our optimised engineering studies have contributed to this increase [and] ongoing studies are allowing us to finetune the funds required to bring the mine into production,” he said.
“The upgraded ore reserve estimates have delivered a major step forward as we strategically advance Manono towards full bankable status.”
Roche Dure asset
Manono’s cornerstone Roche Dure pegmatite “continues to impress” as potentially the largest standalone global hard rock lithium asset based on the new reserves.
“Just one third of the mineral resources at Roche Dure have been converted to ore reserves and extracted over the [proposed] life of mine,” Mr Ferguson said.
“This has been largely due to the lack of data and costings for replacing processing equipment and certainty forecasting spodumene concentrate prices beyond current [projections].”
Manono is the world’s largest undeveloped hard-rock lithium project.
AVZ is unlocking its potential to deliver sustainably-sourced lithium from the Democratic Republic of Congo to world markets.