Australian companies likely to lose a major lithium mine on the Chinese profit web: Advice

Hedge fund research firm Boatman Capital says Australian miner AVZ is likely to lose control of its valuable manonolithium project in Africa into a coordinated network of Chinese profits.

On May 20, Boatman released an analysis of the troubled manonolithium and tin projects in the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is estimated to contain 16.3 million tonnes of lithium carbonate, the main component of electric vehicle batteries.

However, the assessment of the situation was disastrous for AVZ Minerals, and the Australian miner was “defeated by a group of powerful Chinese battery makers trying to take control of the Manono lithium project,” the company said. ..pdf). “

Last week, Perth-based AVZ suspended trading on the Australian Stock Exchange after being arbitrated by China’s largest miner, Zijin Mining.

Epoch Times Photo
Nigel Ferguson, General Director of AVZ Minerals in Australia, is looking at a lithium mine in Manono, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The country is rich in lithium, an essential mineral for electric vehicle batteries, nesting on February 17, 2022, in the ruins of an old mining town in Manono, southeast of Tanganyika. Junior Kanna / AFP via Getty Images)

AVZ of Australia states that it owns 75% of the holding company of the Manono Project (Dathcom) and the remaining 25% is owned by Congolese state-owned Cominiere.

At the same time, AVZ is in the process of selling a 24% stake in the holding company to Suzhou CATH Energy Technologies, which already holds shares in AVZ, to fund the development of the project. This will give AVZ 51% ownership of Dathcom and control of the lithium mine.

However, on May 9, China’s Zijin announced an announcement claiming to hold a 15% stake in Dathcom.pdf) May 4th.

Zijin claimed to have negotiated a deal with Congolese Kominea between July and September 2021.pdf).

In November 2021, the Congolese Commercial Court in Lubumbashi approved the sale of 15% to Zijin’s affiliates and rejected further attempts by AVZ in the proceedings.

If Zijin’s claim is upheld, Australia’s AVZ precursors will worsen and effectively lose control of the mine. A Chinese mining company claims that AVZ does not have the right to hold a 75% stake in Dathcom, but only a 60% stake.

The combined effect of both the sale to CATH and the success of Zijin’s claim reduced AVZ ownership to just 36%, leaving both Chinese companies a 39% stake in Dathcom and ultimately dominating the lithium mine. Will be.

Advisory firm Boatman says he has access to a document certifying the Chinese miner’s claim to parent company Dascom, and AVZ is staring at the Chinese barrel who owns the project.

“AVZ must have known about these issues for months, but it doesn’t seem to disclose either dispute until May 4,” Boatman’s analysis said.

Epoch Times Photo
On February 17, 2022, a craftsman’s miner collects gravel from the Luksi River and searches for tin stone in Manono, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
(Junior Kanna via Getty Images / AFP)

“There is a poetic element of justice in this situation. AVZ can argue that Zijin-Dathomir’s claim is nasty, false and has no merit, but what the company expects. Did AVZ benefit from fraudulent transactions that stripped the license from the former owner of Manono.

“Now, new with Chinese [Democratic Republic of Congo] The government seems to be planning to do the same again. Live with a sword and die with a sword. “

Boatman also outlined a complex network of relationships connecting Chinese companies.

The original Dathcom contract designer was a man named Simon Cong (Cong Maohuai), who allegedly lags behind Chinese EV giant Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt to buy a 6.27% stake in AVZ.

Approximately 7.29% of AVZ is owned by Suzhou CATHEnergy Technologies, a Chinese companion owned by Tesla and BMW supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited, one of the largest battery manufacturers in China.

Tesla Model-3
A man wearing a face mask after an outbreak of coronavirus disease walks beside a Tesla Model 3 sedan and a Tesla Model X sports utility vehicle at the new Tesla Showroom in Shanghai, China on May 8, 2020. (YileiSun / Reuters)

The modern chairman is a man named Zeng Yi, who, Kon, and Huayang Cobalt have invested together in other ventures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition, Huayou’s Vice Chairman is a man named George Fang, formerly Executive Director of Zijin Mining. This company currently has legal issues with AVZ.

“I think it’s likely that different Chinese players are coordinating their behavior, and I suspect that AVZ has been deliberately squeezed out of the Manono project,” Boatman said. Analysis states.

Trading sullenness in Africa is underway on the continent, where Western companies are at risk of being expelled from valuable mining projects from competing Chinese interests, especially as competition for precious rare earths and important minerals intensifies. To highlight the tendency of.

In December 2020, two Australian miners and a British company began dispute resolution with the Republic of the Congo after depriving them of their mining licenses. Continent.

The three mining companies were developing major iron ore deposits in the country.

Daniel Y. Ten


Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national politics, including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and relations between Australia and China. Do you have a hint? Contact him at [email protected]