AVZ Minerals Limited (ASX: AVZ) reports that the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) on itsManono Lithium and Tin Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains on track to be delivered in Q1 2020.
Managing Director, Nigel Ferguson said the Manono DFS is currently 82% completed.
“The company remains on track to deliver its Definitive Feasibility Study in Q1 2020. We continue to investigate our export routes and are looking to secure DRC Government benefits by way of supportive tax incentives and exemptions early in 2020,” Mr Ferguson said.
“Furthermore, we are in ongoing discussions with a number of interested parties around longer term partnerships involving offtake and debt financing. It is expected that the completion of the DFS will solidify these discussions into meaningful financing of the project.
“All in all, we achieved significant progress during 2019 and we look forward to another exciting 12 months ahead for our world-class Manono Project.”
Key objectives to be completed in the lead-up to the DFS release include pit dewatering and transport studies.
Pit dewatering at Roche Dure has utilised two pumps for more than 85% of the time with the larger pump continuously pumping water from the Roche Dure pit. The smaller pump has assisted in areas where the larger pump could not access and as a result, excellent progress has been made,
Mr Ferguson said that once dewatering of the pit is completed, AVZ intends to undertake further sampling of the pegmatite that is exposed in the pit floor to upgrade Mineral Resource categories from Inferred to Indicated and from Indicated to Measured.
The company remains confident that the time taken to conduct this extra sampling is not expected to affect the timeframe for the release of the DFS in Q1 2020.
Meanwhile, a team of consultants have been investigating the Tazara and other railway systems in the region with a view to selecting the most suitable and cost effective method of transporting Manono’s lithium products to port.
Further investigation of the Walvis Bay Corridor route is to be undertaken in January 2020 as a complimentary route to Angola and Tanzania. Walvis Bay is further in distance from Manonobut is in very good condition, having just been completed and both the port and railway are under-utilised at present, with the port only operating at 30 per cent capacity.
Upon further investigation, it was also found that the SNCC railway within the DRC is operational between Tenke Fungurume and the port of Lobito in Angola. The railway is used to export copper products from the Kolwezi and Tenke Fungurume areas of the DRC.
The railway line within Angola was completed some four years ago and is of international standard. In order for AVZ to make use of this rail route, AVZ would need to upgrade approximately 220km of existing gravel road between Manono and the railhead north of Tenke Fungurume at Kabondo Dianda, during the construction phase of the Manono mine. This route presents as the simplest and most cost effective investigated to date.