Lithium is one of the most important battery metals. Ukrainian deposits aren’t the biggest one, but the modern mining tech and high prices for the raw lithium make mining even minor fields a viable investment. Except in Ukraine even small operation is complicated because of complex relations between oligarchs and the authorities. Here is a recent example.
One of the Australian mining companies has intention to buy the Ukrainian “Petro-Consulting LLC” company. It is owned by a covert oligarch Igor Kononenko, a close associate of the ex-president Petro Poroshenko. Igor Kononenko is owning the company together with a nominal owner, who represents – what a surprise -the interests of Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov.
The company is fighting by hook or by crook for licenses for lithium mining. The condition of the transaction is the receipt by the Ukrainian company of a permit for lithium production at the Dobry site and at the Shevchenko deposits.
The total purchase price may be up to 20 million Australian dollars in shares, plus another 50 million AUD in shares if certain conditions are met.
It is curious that American investors have already settled in these fields. The US company will have the opportunity to use the soil for a period of at least thirty years.
It would seem that Ukrainians will get only industrial waste and… money. But there are strings attached. The authorities’ cunning plan is to issue a license, and then impose the nearly almighty NSDC (the extrajudicial Security and Defence Council) sanctions to the company due to ties with Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov.