China-based Zijin Mining Group has acquired Canadian company Neo Lithium in a C$960 million (US$772 million) deal, which includes the Tres Quebradas (3Q) lithium project in Argentina.

Waldo A. Perez, president and chief executive officer of Neo Lithium, stated the all-cash deal underscores the work it had done since late 2015, when it defined one of the world’s largest and highest-grade lithium brine deposits.

“We believe it is now time for our project to proceed to the construction and production phases with Zijin, a leader with a track record of developing assets in a responsible manner, respecting the interests of local employees, communities and authorities,” he added.

Chen Jinghe, chairman of Zijin, pointed out that the project, located in Catamarca, will be a key addition to its global asset portfolio and mix.

“It is a good choice for Zijin to enter the field of new energy minerals,” he said. 

“We are confident that together with Zijin's strong financial resources and mining know-how, we will develop this excellent asset into one of the world's leading lithium carbonate producing mines.”

Zijin confirmed it has committed to retaining the current management and professional team at LIEX S.A., Neo Lithium's local operating subsidiary. It will also be making contributions to the Argentinian province’s economic and social developments.

The transaction is expected to close sometime during the first half of next year.

Sources: Neo Lithium  and Zijin Mining Group