AVZ Minerals confirms Chinese backing for DRC lithium project

ASX-listed AVZ Minerals has executed a subscription agreement that will see Chinese lithium chemical producer Yibin Tianyi Lithium Industry Co take a 12% stake in the company for AUS$14.1 million.

The deal provides a foundation for AVZ and Yibin Tianyi to negotiate a binding offtake agreement for products from the former’s Manono lithium project, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

AVZ will require shareholder approval to issue the $14.1 million shares, while Yibin will also require approvals, including Chinese overseas direct investment (ODI) approvals and FIRB approval.

Yibin Tianyi is an emerging lithium chemical producer backed by China’s largest EV battery manufacturer CATL and Suzhou TA&A Ultra Clean Technolgy Co.

“We are excited to welcome Yibin Tianyi as a new, strategic investor in AVZ, especially given the backing they have from CATL,” said AVZ’s managing director Nigel Ferguson.

“Yibin Tianyi’s intention to invest in AVZ and enter into a binding offtake arrangement underpins the tier 1 quality of our Manono Project,” he continued.

The funds raised from the placement will enable AVZ to complete the acquisition of an additional 5% project interest from Dathomir Mining SARL, increasing AVZ’s overall interest in the Manono Project to 65%.