AVZ to raise $20m for DRC litigation funding

17th November 2023 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

AVZ to raise $20m for DRC litigation funding

Australian company AVZ Minerals has signed a binding term sheet with global litigation funder Locke Capital, providing a pathway towards securing $20-million.

The funds will be used to cover corporate, legal and project costs, while it resolves various litigation matters relating to the Manono lithium and tin mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

AVZ is involved in several arbitration cases at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in Paris, over the rights to the Manono lithium permits, including one with a unit of China’s Zijin and another with State-owned Comieniere.

AVZ reported on Friday that it had successfully obtained emergency relief orders from the ICC against Cominiere, with the court imposing a €50 000-a-day penalty on Cominière if the State-owned firm took any steps to implement its purported termination of the Dathcom Mining joint venture (JV).

AVZ owns the Manono project, which is one of the world’s biggest hard rock deposits of the minerals, through the Dathcom JV.

Cominiere has also been ordered to explore and exploit within the perimeter of PR 13359 and PR 15775 until the ICC tribunal in charge of determining the validity of the termination of the Dathcom JV has heard the issue.

Last month, Zijin Mining and JV partner Manono Lithium, in which Jinxiang Lithium owns a 61% interest and Cominiere has the remaining interest, said it was granted rights over the north-eastern tenement of the Manono mine.

The DRC has reportedly revoked the permit, arguing that the company had not developed the project fast enough.

"AVZ is extremely pleased to have signed this term sheet with Locke, a global litigation funder with deep experience in funding complex litigation proceedings like the ones AVZ is pursuing.

"Having Locke provide this proposal after completing a round of diligence validates AVZ’s strong position across all its legal disputes with a clear pathway to conclusion in AVZ’s favour," commented CEO Nigel Ferguson.