AVZ Minerals completes feasibility studies on DRC’s Manono project

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AVZ Minerals has completed a feasibility study on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s Manono Lithium project.  The results of the study are definitive that the project can become one of the world’s major sources of hard rock lithium.

Further, and according to a press statement from the company, this study supports the case for an initial 20-year mining operation that can produce 700,000 tonnes in a year of high-grade lithium concentrate and 43,375 tonnes per year of primary lithium sulphate from existing ore reserves.

Currently, Manono has the world’s largest hard rock lithium resource of around 400m tonnes, with a measured and indicated resource of 269m tonne grading 1.65pc lithium oxide, 816 parts per million tin and 36ppm tantalum. It has a proven ore reserve of 44.6mn t and a probable ore reserve of 48.5mn t on which the initial mining will be based, accessible through conventional open-pit mining.

Pre-production capital expenditure is estimated at US $545m, including a 10pc contingency, with average earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation expected at around US $380 m/yr. The project payback time is estimated at 1.5 years from first production.

According to media reports, two transport routes have been priced at US$ 229 and US$ 275 per tonne through the port of Lobito in Angola and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania-respectively. Moreover, funding for the project is yet to be finalised, but initial project development works are advancing, including the construction of a mining camp on site.

AVZ Minerals is advancing offtake agreements and financing arrangements ahead of a final investment decision on the project. The world’s biggest hard rock lithium producers are located in Western Australia, while the biggest lithium brine producers are in Chile and Argentina.

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