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US Gives $50 Million Boost to Critical Minerals Investor TechMet

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(Bloomberg) —

A US government agency has made an additional $50 million equity investment in critical minerals firm TechMet Ltd.

The backing from the US International Development Finance Corporation brings its total investment to $105 million, and implies a valuation for TechMet of more than $1 billion, the Dublin-based company said Friday in a statement. The US agency made an initial investment of $25 million in the closely held firm in 2020.

Read More: US-Backed Critical Minerals Investor TechMet Raises $200 Million

The US has made securing critical minerals supply a priority to reduce dependence on China, which dominates the value chain for many key metals, including those needed for the energy transition.

Producers of metals like lithium and nickel have grappled with tumbling prices this year as a wave of new supply hits the market, making it difficult to invest in new mines to meet the expected surge in demand for use in electric vehicles in the coming years. 

“A lot of great projects are in increasingly weak and underfunded hands, and we need these projects to be built in order to meet the accelerating demand growth,” TechMet Chief Executive Officer Brian Menell in an interview.

TechMet invests in assets that produce, process and recycle critical minerals that are key to the electric-vehicle industry and the energy transition. The firm, which is backed by commodities trader Mercuria Energy Group, is in talks with shareholders and new investors, including sovereign funds and family offices, to close a $300 million fundraising round in the next few months, according to Menell.

TechMet has invested more than $250 million into battery metals and rare earths projects around the world in the past two years, including Rainbow Rare Earths, Brazilian Nickel and Cornish Lithium. The firm said it will use the latest US government funding to deploy $50 million into a South African project being developed by Rainbow Rare Earths.

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