AVZ Minerals Ltd‘s (ASX:AVZ) (OTCMKTS:AZZVF) (FRA:3A2) preliminary metallurgical testing has confirmed that the lithium sourced from its Manono Lithium and Tin Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo is suitable for battery production feedstock.

Primary Lithium Sulphate Monohydrate bench-scale test-work confirmed that products from its proposed lithium sulphate plant would make a highly suitable feedstock for the electrolytic production of lithium hydroxide monohydrate.

Shares higher

The company’s market cap is approximately A$574.5 million and shares have been as much as 10% higher to A$0.225, a new high of almost three years.

AVZ engaged Canadian firm Kingston Process Metallurgy (KPM) to independently test at bench-scale each of the processes in the flowsheet for the proposed Manono Lithium Sulphate Plant.

The test-work was undertaken from September to December 2020 at KPM’s facility at Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Suitable for production of batteries

AVZ’s managing director Nigel Ferguson said: “It is pleasing to have independent confirmation of our proposed lithium sulphate plant process as well as verification that our product is suitable for feedstock for battery plants.

“KPM’s test-work provides further confirmation that our high-quality Manono product is capable of producing clean primary lithium sulphate that is suitable for use in the production of batteries.

Roche Dure pit floor drilling

The Roche Dure pit floor resource drilling program recommenced on January 11, 2021, after a three-week Christmas break.

Two deeper holes and the final 30 metres of Hole MO20DD007 are still to be completed.

Pulverised samples from the first six holes have been received at ALS in Perth and assay results will be reported before they are used for a re-estimation of the geological resource figures.

Drilling of the pit floor is expected to be completed by the end of January.

Hydrogeological modelling

Installation of the piezometers surrounding the 10-year pit shell has also recommenced.

Initial pumping from the first piezometer completed in December 2020, demonstrated a very slow recharge of that hole and this may indicate that there may be no water inflow issues in that part of the pit.

Plant site geotechnical assessment

The geotechnical program at the Roche Dure plant site continues and samples of both soil and rock from the 10-hole geotechnical drilling program and the 38 test pits have been sent to Rocklab in Johannesburg for particle size distribution test-work and strength tests.

Results are pending and will be used for foundation design for the processing plant.

Campsite expansion

Further site works have commenced at Manono’s Camp Colline to accommodate around 250 construction workers who will build the processing plant and associated mine infrastructure.

Providing road access to house plots is underway along with the collection and storage of new building materials.

Assessment Six of the seven required Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) certificates have been received, with the seventh ESIA application to be submitted in this quarter.

All of the large and medium packages have been tendered and adjudicated and now await a Final Investment Decision to be made before awarding contracts.