(Reuters) - Erik Prince, who founded the private security company Blackwater, is launching a fund to invest in metals used in electric vehicle batteries, he told the Financial Times.
The fund aims to raise up to $500 million and will invest in deposits of metals such as cobalt, copper and lithium, largely in Africa and Asia, he told the newspaper.
Prince said the fund would bring unexplored deposits into production and then sell them to larger mining companies, often based in China.
“Chinese companies are not necessarily interested in the very upstream exploration,” Prince said. “They want to buy something in production, which leaves that gap for us.”
He expects that metals used in car batteries will be in increasing demand in the coming years as the global automotive industry ramps up electric car production.
Prince sold Blackwater in 2010. Since then he has run a security and logistics business called Frontier Services Group and made investments in natural resources.
Reporting by Carl O'Donnell; editing by Jonathan Oatis