The Manono Project is owned by AVZ (60%), La Congolaise D’exploitation Miniere SA (30%) (Cominiere, a State-owned enterprise) and Dathomir Mining Ressources SARL (10%) (Dathomir, a privately owned company). AVZ is responsible for funding expenditure to completion of a feasibility study.
Tenure, location and infrastructure
The Manono Project comprises PR13359, which covers approximately 188km2. The Manono Project is located approximately 500km due north of Lubumbashi in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in central Africa. The project area can be accessed from Lubumbashi by a 1.5 hour flight or by road.
Infrastructure in Manono and the surrounding areas is limited. Power is currently generated at the Manono township using diesel generators and a recently commissioned solar power system. Dathomir has agreed to facilitate the rehabilitation of Piana Mwanga hydroelectric power station and the road from Lubumbashi to Manono.
There is an abundance of good water supply for both local consumption and any potential mining operation at Manono. Other consumables are bought locally and supplemented by goods brought in from Lubumbashi and Kalemie to the North.
The Manono Project lays within the mid-Proterozoic Kibaran Belt, an intracratonic domain stretching for over 1,000km through Katanga and into southwest Uganda. The belt strikes predominantly SW-NE and is truncated by the N-S to NNW-SSE trending Western Rift system. The Kibaran is underlain in the east by Archaean rocks of the Tanzanian Craton and in the west and south by Lower Proterozoic metamorphic rocks.
The Kibaran belt comprises a sedimentary and volcanic sequence that has been folded, metamorphosed and intruded by at least three separate phases of granite. The latest granite phase (900 to 950MA) is assigned to the Katangan cycle and is associated with widespread vein and pegmatite mineralization containing tin, tungsten, tantalum, niobium, lithium and beryllium. Deposits of this type occur as clusters and are widespread throughout the Kibaran terrain. In the DRC, the Katanga Tin Belt stretches over 500km from near Kolwezi in the southwest to Kalemie in the northeast comprising numerous occurrences and deposits of which the Manono deposit is the largest known.
The historic Manono Mine was mined for its tin content between 1919 and 1982, during which time a total of 100Mm3 (million cubic metres) of ore were processed to produce 185,000 tonnes of cassiterite concentrate, sourced mainly from eluvial and weathered pegmatite from which was recovered an average of 1,850gm of cassiterite concentrate per cubic metre (g/m3) or approximately 1,330g/m3 tin.
With the exception of some exploration work carried out on the old mine dumps, aimed at determining cassiterite and spodumene grades, little prospection has taken place since 1960.3
The presence of lithium mineralisation in pegmatites at Manono has been confirmed to extend along strike of for more than 13km.
Two large areas of pegmatite have been identified, with the northeast area, referred to as the Manono sector and the southwest area, referred to as the Kitotolo sector. Mapping within the two sectors has established that there are many pegmatites, representing separate intrusions, including six large pegmatites.
The large pegmatites all contain spodumene mineralisation. The majority of the smaller pegmatites also contain spodumene and in some cases other lithium minerals. The two largest pegmatites (known as the Carriere de L’est Pegmatite and the Roche Dure Pegmatite) are each of similar size or larger than the famous Greenbushes Pegmatite in Western Australia.
The thickness of the Roche Dure Pegmatite currently being drill tested is estimated to be at least 240 metres. Spodumene ranging between 5% to 25% of whole rock volume and minor cassiterite/coltan is clearly visible in sections of the core. The estimated base of weathering ranges between approximately 30 to 60 metres below surface with a short transitional zone and then fresh (unweathered) pegmatite below to a depth of at least 240 metres.
AVZ’s current activities at Manono comprise mapping, surface trenching and diamond drilling.