AVZ Minerals announced that it has selected GR Engineering Services, an Australian engineering group, as the definitive feasibility study (DFS) engineer for the Manono lithium and tin project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Manono project, which covers 188km2, is located 500km due north of Lubumbashi in the south of DRC in central Africa.

AVZ said that GRES has been nominated for the project based on its experience in Africa including in the DRC, where it has provided operational support and optimisation studies at the Kipoi Copper Project.

AVZ managing director Nigel Ferguson said: “The appointment of GRES as the DFS Engineer is a significant milestone for the Manono Project as its work is highly regarded by leading financiers and lending institutions.

“GRES has completed a large number of bankable feasibility studies and has an exceptional track record in executing project design and construction developments on time and within budget.”

The Manono Project is located within the mid-Proterozoic Kibaran Belt, an intracratonic domain spanning over 1,000km through Katanga and into southwest Uganda.

AVZ will provide funding for the feasibility study

The project is owned by AVZ holding a 60% stake, La Congolaise d’Exploitation Minière with 30% interest and Dathomir Mining Resources with 10%. AVZ will provide funding for the feasibility study and a decision to mine.

AVZ has sent a one-tonne sub-sample of the bulk sample to the ALS Minerals in Perth for comminution testwork, as part of DFS’ metallurgical test works, with results expected soon.

In addition, it has secured the approval to dewater the Roche Dure and M’Pete open pits from the Mines Environmental Protection, a section of the Department of Mines and has started the dewatering program.

AVZ said in a statement: “The approval was contingent on the building of a silt settlement pond and a water treatment facility into the existing dewatering channel, which has been completed.”

An initial drilling program carried out on the Manono lithium project has confirmed the immense size and potential of the mine.