AVZ executed the MoU with Tinci with an eye to formalising potential investment and offtake agreements that have been undertaken in recent weeks in China between the company’s representatives.
Other Chinese groups seeking investment opportunities are still on the telephone, and Eckhof said more deals could be announced in the coming weeks.
He said it was pleasing to get Tinci involved so early in the development of Manono, where the company has mapped the Carriere de L’est and Roche Dure pegamatites, which AVZ compares in size to the Greenbushes pegmatite in Western Australia.
Roche Dure has a proven length of at least 2100m and an average thickness of 200m, with the deposit open below 250m, while Carriere de L’Est extends over 5500m and a thickness of some 280m.
AVZ has generated an exploration target of between 1-1.2 billion tonnes of 1.25-1.5% lithium oxide for the entire Manono project, including between 300-400Mt for the Roche Dure pegmatite alone.
Resource definition drilling is ongoing in the remote area, which was previously mined for tin between 1919 and 1982.
The company has contracted five rigs to accelerate the 20,000m program.
“Our excellent drilling results released to date under-pin the world-class status of Manono and highlights the unique opportunity that exists for the company relative to all other hard rock deposits,” Eckhof said.
Representatives from Tinci have been invited to visit the operation in the DRC to “help facilitate a proper appreciation of the enormous potential of the Manono lithium project”, AVZ said.
The pegmatite swarm has been mapped over 13km, and assays of rock chips from outcrop of the Carriere de l’Est pegmatite returned samples as high as 4.33% Li2O.
AVZ has a 60% stake in the project, and is funding the 188sq.km project through to the completion of a feasibility study.
Its partners are DRC state-owned miner Cominiere (30%) and private concern Dathomir Mining Resources (10%).
AVZ shares were off 2% at 23c, valuing the company at $446 million.