AVZ Minerals Ltd’s (ASX:AVZ) (FRA:3A2) (OTCMKTS:AZZVF) Manono Lithium and Tin Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa, is on the pathway towards construction with plans in place to submit one remaining ESIA proposal to the ACE in DRC for approval this quarter.
After awarding a 12-week front-end-engineering-design (FEED) contract to Melbourne-based company Mincore Pty Ltd, AVZ’s construction schedule for the remainder of the year includes submitting a PE application to CAMI in the DRC, making a final investment decision and processing the plant and HEPP EPC award in Q2.
Providing all goes to plan, the mineral exploration company expects to begin construction in August.
Product export routes
AVZ Minerals has selected two main routes:
- The first being Manono to Kabondo Dianda Intermodal Staging Station by road, then onto SNCC to Tenke and Tazara Railway to the Port of Dar es Salaam;
- The second route leaves Manono to Kabondo Dianda railhead by road then onto SNCC to Tenke and to Angolan Rail (CFB) to Port of Lobito; and
- A future option for the company is also available to Walvis Bay in Namibia via the Walvis Bay Corridor.
The Angolan railway (CFB) has been recently updated and is currently transporting copper to Lobito port.
Full technical due diligence studies of railways to Lobito and Dar es Salaam have been conducted and both are considered as suitable for the product export with both ports having undergone upgrades in the last three years.
Negotiations are underway with:
- Ports of Lobito and Port of Dar es Salaam;
- TAZARA; and
Mineral resource drilling
AVZ completed diamond resource drilling at Manono in early February with intersections of up to 203.3 metres at 1.59% lithium and 1,014ppm tin recorded from the pit floor called ‘Wedge’ at Roche Dure.
The assays were from the first four of nine planned diamond drill holes at Roche Dure in previously undrilled areas beneath the historical pit which were inaccessible and underwater during the earlier resource drilling programs.
Following this, in March the company received further strong results with intersections of up to 1.63% lithium and 1,134ppm tin returned from the pit floor 'wedge' at Roche Dure.
A nine-hole diamond drilling program for 1,654 metres is complete with sample preparation underway for transportation to Perth as soon as possible.
The strongest result was from hole MO20DD005 and the other hole, MO20DD009, returned 95 metres at 1.52% Li2O & 1,057ppm tin and 22.6 metres at 1.29% Li2O & 1,062ppm tin.
Pegmatite in these two holes was fresh from the pit floor and confirm strong spodumene mineralisation from the top of the holes.
The company is hoping to undertake a resource update, pending outstanding data being received, in the first quarter of 2021.
AVZ has earmarked the following improvements based on this drilling:
Back in January, the company completed a comprehensive independent greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment for the life of mine at Manono, which evaluated the estimated scope 1 and scope 2 emissions associated with all operations over the 20-year life of the Manono mine, processing facilities and road transportation of the products.
The greenhouse gases evaluated in the study include carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane.
ERM employed a methodology consistent with the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines and findings showed the Manono Project could have one of the lowest carbon footprints of any global hard rock lithium miner.
This is primarily due to AVZ’s strategic location adjacent to the Mpiana Mwanga Hydro Electric Power Plant (HEPP) which, once refurbished, is anticipated to provide all the Manono Project’s electricity requirements.
ERM’s GHG assessment assumed the Manono Project will include an open-pit mining operation at the Roche Dure pegmatite deposit producing lithium, tin and tantalum and is inclusive of SC6 and PLS processing facilities
AVZ is investigating and planning substantial GHG mitigation measures which include:
- Purchase of an electric mining fleet once commercially viable equipment is available;
- Generation of Hydrogen (H2) from excess renewable electricity to enable use of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs); and
- The establishment of a 5,000-hectare sequestration plantation.
Managing director Nigel Ferguson said at the time: “We will continue to strive towards improving our greenhouse gas emissions profile as we develop the world-class Manono Project.
“Ultimately, we want to see the electricity generated from the Mpiana Mwanga hydroelectric power plant used to operate all our mining equipment, making the Manono Project a 100% ‘green’ mine.
“Any surplus power may be provided into the national grid for use in the town of Manono.”
Target catalysts for 2021 and onwards