China Natural Resources to acquire lithium mine in Zimbabwe

Feb 28 (Reuters) - China Natural Resources Inc said on Tuesday it would acquire Williams Minerals, the operator of a lithium mine in Zimbabwe, amid surging demand for the metal used in batteries for electric vehicles.

The company plans to issue restricted shares and promissory notes to fund the acquisition for a maximum of $1.75 billion, with $140 million as initial payment. It may also pay some of the amount in cash.

Williams Minerals is owned by Top Pacific Ltd and Feishang Group Ltd, the latter also being the controlling shareholder of China Natural Resources.

Africa’s lithium production is likely to soar this decade, with bulk of that coming from Zimbabwe.

China Natural Resources, however, said there was no guarantee that the transaction, expected to close in the second fiscal quarter of 2023, would take place under the current terms.

Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar