The Financial Times reports that Erik Prince, the founder of private security company Blackwater, is raising up to $500 million to launch a fund to invest in the supply of metals such as cobalt, copper and lithium that are needed for EV batteries.
“For all the talk of our virtual world, the innovation, you can’t build those vehicles without minerals that come from generally weird, hard-to-access places,” Mr Prince told the Financial Times.
Prince will target unexplored deposits that could be brought into production and then sold to larger mining companies. The fund will look to sell its investments after four to five years, he said.
“When I see the R&D budgets of all the major automakers ploughing huge money into hybrid or electric vehicles, I believe the demand curve for the unique minerals that make up an electric car and battery technology will be enormously high over the coming years,” Mr Prince said.
Prince sold Blackwater in 2010, and since then has been running Frontier Services Group, which provides security and logistics services to companies in unstable countries. It has also invested in a bauxite mine in Guinea, and identified a copper and cobalt deposit in the Congo.