Q Global Commodities, owned and run by South African coal investor Quinton Van der Burgh, has agreed a partnership with Abu Dhabi’s F9 Capital Management to invest $1-billion in mines producing green metals.
The venture plans to develop deposits of metals such as lithium, copper and nickel in southern and eastern Africa, the companies said in a statement. An energy transition fund run by F9 will hold a 30% stake in the assets.
“We wanted to make sure that our reserves and projects were exactly where they needed to be so we could get to the next stage,” Van der Burgh said in an interview on Friday. “That pulling the trigger means investing in plants, infrastructure and developing our logistical arms.”
QGC and F9 are joining the race to tap metals used in renewable energies as well as in batteries for electric vehicles. QGC, which mines coal in South Africa, has stakes in metal deposits in the country, plus in Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Namibia.
The availability and expense of crucial battery materials — including lithium, nickel and cobalt — have been key concerns for years among automakers trying to build out their electric lineups. The issues have gained more urgency in recent months due to rising competition to strike supply pacts, wild swings in raw material costs and the US administration’s push for companies to reduce their reliance on China for critical minerals.
Simon Fentham-Fletcher, founder and chief investment officer of F9, said the $1-billion has been “secured” from institutional investors. The identity of those investors has not been disclosed.
The aim is to get the mines up and running and then ultimately list the company on a stock exchange in the United Arab Emirates or Canada, Van der Burgh said.