Expansion study at Manono starts

Expansion study at Manono starts
Mining News Pro - AVZ Minerals has started an expansion scenario study for its Manono lithium and tin project, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The study will investigate an increase in throughput at Manono dense media separation (DMS) plant, up from the 4.5-million tonnes considered in the project’s definitive feasibility study.

The expansion scenario was raised in the recent $400-million transaction with Chinese investment firm CATH Energy Technologies, under which CATH would earn a 24% interest in a multi-faceted joint venture (JV) to develop the Manono lithium and tin project.

CATH would pay $240-million cash for its 24% equity interest and a further amount to fund its pro-rata portion of funding for the development of the project. AVZ’s interest would fall to 51%, from 75%, with DRC-owned Cominiere retaining a 25% stake.

As part of this agreement, AVZ and CATH agreed to evaluate and progress a study to expand the DMS production capacity at Manono.

On completion of this study, the results will be considered by the AVZ management team and the Manono JV partners, prior to any decision to increase the throughput being made.

The original definitive feasibility study envisages conventional openpit mining producing about 700 000 t/y of high-grade lithium and 45 475 t/y of primary lithium sulphate over a 20-year mine life, based on a 4.5-million-tonne-a-year operation underpinned by the project’s ore reserves. The study estimated that the project would cost some $545.5-million to develop.

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