Zimbabwe lithium deal above board: Moti

…insists lithium project is worth US$1.4bn

Senior Writer

South African business mogul, Zunaid Moti, has denied that he duped Chinese billionaire investor Pei Zhenzhua over a lithium find in Zimbabwe.

In response to an article published by Review & Mail on Friday, Moti sent a response via X by his company, the Moti Group and contended that the project in Mashonaland East province, “received extremely promising valuations as evidence of its excellent long-term prospects, and exploration will be proceeding.”

He also indicated that Pei’s team had been on the ground in Zimbabwe to ascertain the asset.

Pei, with a personal wealth valuation of about US$8bn, owns the biggest car battery manufacturing business in China, and was understood to be keen to set up a plant in Mutoko district, Zimbabwe.

“According to the latest report by expert mining consultants and geologists, the 10,000-hectare site in Zimbabwe has a potential value of up to $1.4 billion,” Moti said.

He explained: “The leader of this company, Pei Zhenhua, is one of China’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs…the aforementioned Chinese company had brought its own lawyers and geologists in person to the site in the Mashonaland East province, where they spent extensive time conducting their own due diligence on just a minute portion of the reserve.”

Koti acknowledged that the terms of the Chinese company’s partnership with the Moti Group “have changed, it has chosen to remain a minority shareholder”.

This followed the Chinese investors deciding to scale down on investment into the project following plans to put up to US$20 million in exploration work.

Moti bitterly complained about South African media that published the article saying they had “chosen to portray a highly experienced and respected black businessman such as Dondo Mogajane as a dupe; a black-owned business such as the Moti Group as thieves; while intimating that a multi-billion-dollar Chinese company is somehow stupid, careless, or naïve.”

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