DLA Piper advises on USD240 million investment for development of the Manono Project
Global law firm DLA Piper has advised AVZ Minerals Limited (AVZ) on securing a cornerstone investor, Suzhou CATH Energy Technologies (CATH), for the development of the Manono Lithium and Tin Project by entering into a transaction implementation agreement to earn a 24% joint venture interest in the Manono Project for USD240 million.
As the joint investment vehicle of Mr Pei Zhenhua, the controller of Yibin Tianyi, and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co, Ltd, CATH is a major player in the global lithium conversion and lithium-ion battery industry.
The transaction will yield a significant portion of the required project funding whilst ensuring AVZ retains a controlling 51% interest in the Manono Project post completion and holding its position as lead developer of the Manono Project.
CATH will replace Yibin Tianyi under the existing Offtake Agreement between those parties, which will now provide for the sale of an increased quantity of spodumene concentrate for the life of the Manono Project. Additionally, CATH will enter into a long-term Primary Lithium Sulphate (PLS) offtake agreement in respect of PLS produced from a PLS calcining plant, to also be developed in joint venture with CATH. The parties have also agreed to evaluate and, if viable, develop and construct a lithium hydroxide conversion facility.
The DLA Piper team was led by Corporate partner James Nicholls, Global Co-Chair of Energy & Natural Resources Alex Jones, Finance & Projects partner Tom Fotheringham and special counsel Joanne Steer, supported by partners Natalie Caton, Shane Murphy and Alexander Brabant; counsel Bruno Gay; senior associates Claire Robertson and Jeffrey Sheehy; and solicitor Kirsty Hall.
Alex Jones said: “DLA Piper is proud to have supported AVZ on this deal, which will see the Manono Project become one of the largest lithium mines in the world. The project is strategically positioned as a clean, sustainable source of lithium for the EV battery value chain. We look forward to continuing to support AVZ on its journey to closing the deal and developing the project.”