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China debt crunch

Acquisitive Chinese miner Tianqi Lithium faces debt crunch

Creditors brace for possible $1.9bn default after buying binge

Among Tianqi Lithium's most valuable assets is its holdings in Chilean lithium miner SQM. Chile has the world's largest lithium reserves. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa)

HONG KONG -- Lithium is a necessary component for batteries to power everything from smartphones to electric vehicles. Even though China is ahead of the curve in this key sector, Tianqi Lithium, one of the largest global lithium producers in China, is on the brink of defaulting on a loan worth $1.884 billion.

The company is in dire financial straits, at a time when the industry is heading for a bright future with powerful policy support.

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