Vision Blue Resources creates $300 million battery metals SPAC

March 15, 2021

Mick Davis the former head of Xstrata and founder of battery metals investment firm Vision Blue Resources (VBR) announced that is company will accelerate its move into green metals with the launch of a $300 million special purpose acquisition company.

Davis’s Vision Blue Resources co-sponsored ESM Acquisition Corp. in the U.S. last week with mining investment firm The Energy & Minerals Group.

Bloomberg reported that SPACs are blank-check companies that have no other business than to raise money in a listing and use that money to acquire assets within two years. They’ve boomed this year, leading to a record first quarter for initial public offerings.

“ESM’s strategy is to identify and complete an initial business combination with a target that can benefit from its leadership team’s significant experience in the natural resources industry,” Vision Blue said in a statement. “ESM intends to focus on a target business that is positioned to benefit from the global transition toward a low-carbon economy.”

With electric-vehicle sales expected to surge in the coming years, Vision Blue has said it expects the mining industry to fall short in the hunt to bring new supplies of battery minerals to the market.

Vision Blue also said in the statement that it had bought a $11.5 million stake in Ferro-Alloy Resources Ltd., a vanadium project developer of which Davis will become chairman. Vision Blue had already acquired a stake in a project in Madagascar supplying graphite for use in electric-vehicle batteries.

Davis helmed Xstrata through the boom years of the commodities supercycle, reaping huge profits from a portfolio of assets producing copper, coal and zinc. Xstrata was bought by Glencore in 2013, and Davis was poised to lead the combined company, but shareholders revolted over his pay package. Instead, Ivan Glasenberg took charge.

After struggling to re-establish himself during a downswing in commodities markets, Davis, nicknamed Mick the Miner, stepped back into the industry in 2019 with a plan to develop a huge iron ore deposit in Guinea.

Davis warned last month that the supply of those materials was not keeping pace with demand growth. He said that the need for battery metals would “dwarf anything the mining industry has ever seen before, including the commodity impact of China’s industrialization in the last 20 years.”
 

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