Askari Metals has signed a non-binding partnership agreement with China-based Zhejiang Kanglongda Special Protection Technology to expedite the development of its Australia-based lithium assets, Barrow Creek and Eastern Pilbara Lithium.

Zhejiang Kanglongda will assist the Australian exploration company with techniques and opportunities in lithium chemical downstream processing in addition to providing access to capital for development in the future.

As part of the partnership, the Chinese protective gloves manufacturer will be given a preferred offtake position once the commercial production begins at the two lithium projects of Askari Metals.

According to the Australian company, the partnership agreement will support its exploration goals and continued exposure to the lithium sector.

Askari Metals executive director Gino D’Anna said: “Pursuant to the agreement, we will work closely with Zhejiang Kanglongda in the development of lithium downstream products and importantly Zhejiang Kanglongda will provide us with access to key markets within China and provide Askari with access to capital for future development.

“Zhejiang Kanglongda will also be provided with a preferred offtake position at market prices. We believe that Zhejiang Kanglongda is a tier-1 partner for our Company and we are very pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside them in the development of our Australian lithium assets.

“In addition, the Company is investigating commercialisation strategies for its copper and gold projects within Australia including a spin-out, which will facilitate the Company’s continued concentration on the battery metals sector, and specifically lithium.”

Zhejiang Kanglongda, which has a market capitalisation of around $988m, recently acquired an additional 17.7% stake in Chinese lithium chemicals producer Jiangxi Tiancheng Lithium Industry for $30m to increase its stake to 51%.

Askari Metals’ Eastern Pilbara lithium assets include the Yarrie lithium project, the Talga East lithium project, and the Myrnas Hill lithium project.