AVZ vs Zijin: the fight for the world’s biggest lithium deposit – by Jevans Nyabiage (South China Morning Post – October 30, 2022)


The discovery of a gigantic deposit of lithium had raised hopes for the sleepy town of Manono in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo after a tin boom went bust years earlier.

Australia-based AVZ Minerals announced in 2019 that the Manono lithium-tin project in the DRC probably had the world’s largest untapped lithium deposit, with estimates of 400 million tonnes of lithium ore. Lithium is essential in making rechargeable batteries for phones and electric vehicles, and is in high demand as countries around the world make the shift to green energy.

The stakes are huge and the rewards are great. But infighting and legal battles among shareholders for control of the Manono site is putting the project on hold. The main fight pits AVZ against Chinese mining giant Zijin Mining in a case in the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration.

Zijin claims that through its DRC subsidiary Jin Cheng Mining it bought a 15 per cent stake in Dathcom, a joint venture established in 2016 that owns 100 per cent of the Manono lithium mine.Zijin says it bought the stake from Cominiere, the DRC’s state-owned mining company, which had 25 per cent of Dathcom under a 2017 deal.

For the rest of this article: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3197766/avz-vs-zijin-fight-worlds-biggest-lithium-deposit