Australia's AVZ Minerals secures $240 million funding for Congo lithium project

(Reuters) - Australia’s AVZ Minerals said on Monday it had secured a $240 million funding from a private investment firm, jointly owned by Chinese battery maker CATL, to develop its lithium project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Under the agreement, private equity firm Suzhou CATH Energy Technologies would get a 24% stake in the joint venture to develop the Manono lithium and tin project in southern DRC in exchange for the funding.

AVZ’s interest in the project would drop to 51% from 75%, while DRC-owned firm Cominiere would retain its 25% stake.

In March, the Australian mineral explorer had entered an agreement with China-based Chengxin Lithium Group for supply of lithium ore mineral spodumene from Manono project.

Suzhou CATH will contribute more than $400 million in total subject to costs verification, with parties also agreeing to assess the feasibility of developing a lithium hydroxide facility, AVZ said in a statement on Monday.

Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips