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China debt crunch

China's Tianqi Lithium narrowly avoids default with last-minute deal

Tentative agreement leaves uncertainty over cash-strapped miner's outlook

A lithium mine in Greenbushes, Australia, one of the largest in the world, which is owned by a joint venture controlled by Tianqi Lithium. (Photo courtesy of Tianqi Lithium Australia's website)

HONG KONG -- China's Tianqi Lithium, one of the largest global lithium producers, said late Monday it has reached an agreement with lenders led by state-owned Citic Bank to extend the repayment of a $1.88 billion U.S.-dollar-denominated loan due at the end of November.

The accord is tentative, however, and it will only give the acquisitive Chinese company a reprieve of one month at most.

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