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Mali signs agreement with China’s Ganfeng Lithium to operate Goulamina mine

Earlier this week, Mali’s economy minister announced a significant deal with China’s Ganfeng Lithium regarding the operation of the Goulamina lithium mine. Under the terms of the agreement, Mali will increase its stake in the project, in line with a new mining code introduced by the West African nation last year. This code allows the government to boost its ownership of mining ventures and recover what it perceives as a significant deficit in production revenue.

According to a statement from the economy ministry dated May 16 and viewed by Reuters on Friday, Mali’s share in the Goulamina project will rise from 20% to 35%. Described as a “win-win agreement” that safeguards the interests of the Malian people, the deal marks a new phase of partnership between Mali and Ganfeng Lithium Co, a prominent Chinese group, for the development and operation of the Goulamina lithium project.

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As part of the agreement, Ganfeng Lithium will establish a spodumene plant, with production expected to commence by the year’s end. Mali’s Economy Minister, Alousseni Sanou, indicated earlier in the week that the deal could potentially yield annual revenues ranging from 110 billion to 115 billion CFA francs (equivalent to approximately $191.5 million).

This development follows Ganfeng Lithium’s recent acquisition of Australia’s Leo Lithium’s 40% stake in the Goulamina mine for $342.7 million. Leo Lithium cited the risks associated with operating in Mali and the impact of the new mining code as key factors driving the decision to sell its stake, asserting that it was in the best interests of its shareholders.

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