Lithium Africa Resources has entered into a strategic partnership with China’s Ganfeng Lithium to advance the exploration and development of lithium pegmatite resources across Africa.

Under the partnership, Ganfeng Lithium has acquired a 19.9% stake in Lithium Africa.

In addition, Ganfeng Lithium and Lithium Africa jointly established a 50-50 joint venture partnership to own and operate Lithium Africa’s highly prospective lithium portfolio.

The partnership will hold a lithium portfolio spanning more than 2,500km2 of area, across Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali and Zimbabwe.

Lithium Africa has convened a team of more than 30 exploration professionals and geologists, with experience in resource development in Africa.

Ganfeng Lithium vice chairman and president Wang Xiaoshen said: “Ganfeng Lithium’s strategic partnership with and investment in Lithium Africa is designed to accelerate the discovery and development of new lithium resources to meet the demand and scale needed by our customers.

“Exploration in Africa provides a critical opportunity to build a diversified global lithium supply chain in a responsible and cost-effective manner.

“Our partnership with Lithium Africa supports further investment in a historically underexplored and highly prospective region.”

The partnership will leverage Lithium Africa’s technical and operational experience and Ganfeng Lithium’s global lithium expertise to establish an exploration vehicle.

The vehicle will focus on systematically exploring, identifying and defining new lithium deposits.

Lithium Africa said that, in partnership with the Chinese lithium mining company, it will continue to advance exploration programs across four core regions.

Furthermore, Lithium Africa is planning to pursue a public listing within the coming 18 months, to support the exploration plans and growth strategy.

Lithium Africa founder and CEO Carl Esprey said: “Through our work with Ganfeng Lithium to date, we are confident in our partnership’s strategy in establishing the leading lithium exploration company in Africa.

“Ganfeng Lithium’s investment and partnership demonstrates their commitment and aligned exploration vision with Lithium Africa.

“By continuing to advance our exploration portfolio, we hope to ensure all stakeholders can participate in the broad, sustainable benefits in responsibly developing Africa’s lithium resources.”