Assays received from a phase one drilling program at Force Commodities’ (ASX: 4CE) Kanuka lithium project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, near AVZ Minerals’ (ASX: AVZ) world-class Manono lithium project, have confirmed the presence of high-grade lithium mineralised pegmatites.
The program successfully intersected multiple stacked lithium-bearing veins over an initial inferred strike of 1.3 kilometres at the Kania Main pegmatite located inside the main open pit mining operation, over a width of up to 300m.
Best intersections were 23m at 0.89% lithium oxide from 30m, including 3m at 1.82% lithium oxide; 10m at 1.16% lithium oxide from 24m, including 7m at 1.38% lithium oxide; and 5m at 1.07% lithium oxide from 3m.
Other results included 3m at 1.10% lithium oxide from 1m; 5m at 1.15% lithium oxide from 14m; and 2m at 0.99% lithium oxide from 58m.
Many intersections ended in mineralisation.
Force said the phase one assays prove the potential of the Kibaran stratigraphy within the Kanuka project area to contain significant pegmatite-hosted lithium mineralisation.
The company is planning further drilling targeting potential extensions down-dip and along strike.
It also aims to ascertain structural orientation and further constrain lithium mineralisation.
Broad mineral system
Drilling at the Kalombo Mushwima prospect, west of the Kania Main pegmatite at Kanuka, also identified a significant, shallow and broad lithium mineralised system over a width of 1.4km which remains open in all directions.
Kalombo Mushwima is believed to be highly prospective, and lies less than 2km west of the current open-cast tin and tantalum mining operations of Force Commodities’ Kanuka joint venture partner, diversified Congolese mining, metals and trading group Mining Mineral Resources SPRL.
Force holds a 51% interest in Kanuka, while MMR retains a 49% stake. MMR has operated in the DRC since 1997, and has copper, cobalt, tantalum, tin and tungsten mines and processing plants in the region.
Kanuka’s phase one program comprised 45 drill holes for a total 2,733m, and was aimed at rapidly targeting near-surface lithium mineralisation in a number of identified pegmatite bodies within the project area, as well as new parallel pegmatites identified at Kalombo Mushwima.
Drilling of 16 reverse circulation holes at Kalombo Mushwima determined the pegmatite dips gently up to 27o towards the north-west and identified a series of closely spaced, stacked pegmatite veins occurring as intercalations within a regional gneiss unit.
Force said the close-spaced holes confirmed significant lithium mineralisation from surface in multiple pegmatites, while those completed on a wider spacing indicated the Kalombo Mushwima pegmatites extend 1km to the east.
Overall, the results indicated the potential for broader higher-grade lithium mineralisation at depth, with a number of holes showing improving lithium grades with depth and ending in mineralisation.
Geological mapping, rock chip and limited auger sampling throughout the greater project area showed the lithium mineralisation to be hosted within pegmatites, with a lithium-caesium-tantalum geochemical affinity exposed at surface and in the floor of pits extending beneath alluvial cover.
Force’s joint venture with MMR at Kanuka includes an exploration and mining licence which extends over a combined area of 194 square kilometres, located 20km east of Force’s Kitotolo-Katamba lithium project and 5km south of AVZ’s Manono, where the resource was recently upgraded to 400.4 million tonnes grading 1.66% lithium oxide for 6.64Mt of contained lithium oxide.
The update confirmed Manono as the world’s largest lithium deposit, according to AVZ’s managing director Nigel Ferguson.
At midday, shares in Force Commodities were trading 5% lower at $0.019.