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Manono Lithium – a joint venture (JV) between a subsidiary of Zijin Mining Group and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) firm La Congolaise d’Exploitation Minière – has obtained an exploration licence in the northeast of the Manono lithium exploration project from the Ministry of Mines in the DRC.

Under the terms of the JV agreement, Zijin subsidiary Jinxiang Lithium will lead the exploration, construction and operation of the Manono project and will be responsible for raising funds internally and externally for the JV.

Jinxiang Lithium intends to complete the geological exploration and feasibility study as soon as possible and expects to finish construction of the project within two years after the feasibility study is completed and the financing arrangements confirmed.

The JV partners also plan to build an industrial park focusing on lithium smelting in the DRC.

Zijin says the Manono project is one of the world’s largest lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatite deposits, which can be developed into an openpit mine. 

The company has also secured the rights to refurbish and operate the old, decommissioned Mpiana-Mwanga hydropower station, which is located near the project and will provide low-carbon power for the project.