The Manono Extension Project (Project)is considered prospective for lithium, tin and tantalumand comprises two granted exploration permits (PRs 4029 and 4030) covering 242.25 km2and surrounding the world class historic Manono Mine. The Manono Mine is potentially one of the largest lithium rich pegmatite deposits in the world.
Location and Geology
The Project is situated approximately 500km north of Lubumbashi town, within the Tanganyika province in the south of the DRC. The Project is located adjacent to the town of Manono, which lies on the western bank of the Lukushi, a tributary of the Luvua River.
The Project lays within the mid-Proterozoic Kibaran Belt – an intracratonic domain, stretching for over 1,000 km through Katanga and into southwest Uganda representing a world scale crustal feature. The belt strikes predominantly SW-NE and is truncated by the N-S to NNW-SSE trending Western Rift system
The geology of the Manono area is not well documented. The Manono pegmatites are hosted by a series of quartzitic mica schists of the Lower Kibaran and are associated with volcanic and intrusive rocks of mainly doleritic composition. The schists observed in the vicinity of the Manono mine are generally steeply dipping in contrast to the sub-horizontal attitude of the pegmatite intrusion.
The main pegmatite at the historical Manono Mine (the Project being acquired surrounds but does not include the historic Manono Mine) is exposed over 14 kms although only a small portion of this has been drill tested. The main pegmatite was mined for its tin content between 1919 and 1980, during which time a total of 100 million cubic metres (Mm3) of ore were processed to produce 185,000 tonnes of cassiterite concentrate, mainly from eluvial and weathered pegmatite. Manono also contains spodumene crystals as the most common mineral found in the fresh pegmatite after plagioclase and quartz.Production from this ore was economic on account of its amenability to cheap mining and processing methods. The pegmatite remains open to the northeast and southwest of the historic mining activities.
The area around the Manono pegmatite is geologically very poorly mapped and understood, most probably due to the extensive soil and lateritic development. Previous surface sketch mapping and cross sections from the historic mine show in overall terms, the surface exposure of the pegmatite being mostly a shallow dipping body that double-plunges at its NE and SW ends under the mica-schist host lithology.
Within the Project there are two primary targets that have been delineated from the photo-geological interpretation (completed in 2014) that potentially represent the strike extensions of the Manono pegmatite to the SW and to the NE.
SW Extension Target
Within the SW extension corridor, a pegmatite body has been mapped of approximately 800m strike length and 200m width. This body straddles the western licence boundary, with approximately 600m of strike contained within PR4030.
The SW pegmatite is a very highly weathered Calcic feldspar (albite)-quartz-muscovite pegmatite with parallels in mineralization characteristics to the main Kitatolo pegmatites, such as the development of large platy microcline feldspars crystals with a columnar nature. Given that the main Manono pegmatites appear to be a laccolith, this pegmatite body in the SW may represent the southern extension to the main Kitatolo orebody within a well defined structural corridor.
NW Extension Target
Within the NW extension target area there is well developed soil cover underneath which there appears to be a well developed lateritic cover. Profile sections observed in areas of artisanal workings suggest soils are around 0.5m thick and laterite between 2 and 3m thick.
This regolith profile masks the underlying rock units and thus, easy identification of any potential pegmatite bodies requires more penetrative exploration methods such as pitting or drilling. Conversely, this profile will have protected any pegmatites present from historical discovery and development. The most significant geological feature found within the target area was a laterite developed in an east west orientation with a length of approximately 2km by 1.5km. Laterites are commonly associated with pegmatite implacement.
Based on the potential strike length (approximately 8-10kms) that exists within the SW and NE extension areas which has not been tested to date, the modest, but encouraging anomalous and associated mineralization, the extensive lateritic and sand colluvium cover and the association of the SW pegmatite to the known strike line of the main Kitatolo and Manono Pegmatite, it is considered there is potential within the Manono Extension Licences for significant lithium, tin and tantalum mineralization.
Plans for the Future
AVZ initially plans to undertake a regional scale followup on the historic photogeological work, including field mapping of key target areas and pitting. Subject to results, this will be followed by soil sampling and trenching, and then selective drilling.