Global Law Firms Unite For China-Zimbabwe Lithium Deal

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LAW firms from around the world are advising as Chinese company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt acquires Arcadia Lithium Mine in Zimbabwe, majority-owned by Australian-based Prospect Resources, in a deal worth $422 million.

Prospect says the transaction highlights the benefits flowing from the Special Economic Zone status of Arcadia Lithium Mine, with its potential to “put Zimbabwe firmly in the electric vehicle supply chain”.

Huayou has turned to Australian firm Minter Ellison, Jingtian & Gongcheng in China, Scanlen & Holderness in Zimbabwe, and Morgan Lewis Stamford in Singapore, according to a statement on the deal.

King & Wood Mallesons in Australia, Manokore Attorneys, and DLA Piper Africa in Zimbabwe are Prospect’s two legal advisers.

Scanlen & Holderness’ senior partner Sternford Moyo told International that lithium is a highly sought-after commodity.

“It is used in producing batteries, energy storage, electric vehicles, portable devices, and solar panels, and Zimbabwe has one of the world’s largest reserves of Lithium.”,

Moyo is leading the Scanlan & Holderness team advising Huayou on the Zimbabwe law aspects of the matter, assisted by partner Memory Mafo, and associate Tapiwa Chivanga.

The Morgan Lewis Stamford team advising Huayou is led by director Bernard Lui, supported by associate director Gina Ng, and associate Aden Tan.

Zimbabwe firm Manokore’s team advising Prospect was led by partner Jabulani Nhongo, supported by senior associate Farai Nyabereka, associate Tatenda Tendayi, and consultant Rainor Robinson.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2022, subject to Prospect shareholder approval, Chinese regulatory approvals, and all other conditions being satisfied or waived.