Ex-Anglo CEO talks to private equity on where to next pump money

Mark Cutifani. (Credit: Anglo American)

Former Anglo American Plc boss Mark Cutifani is talking to a number of private equity firms about new ways to invest in the mining sector as the energy transition gathers pace.

The mining industry is a big emitter, but also plays a key role in the green revolution by supplying metals like copper, lithium and cobalt that are used in batteries and power links. While the sector has been relatively ignored by private equity, the speed of the green push and outlook for tight metal supplies are attracting new investors.

Minerals will be central to many future investments, said Cutifani, who toward the end of his Anglo tenure focused on new technologies and innovative mining methods, like hydrogen-fueled trucks.

“I have a had discussions with a small number of private equity participants around the minerals sector,” he said by email. And also on “how people should be thinking about large-scale innovation and technical disruptions that will likely occur and connect to minerals in different ways.”

Cutifani, who left Anglo at the end of last month, led the mining giant through one of the most tumultuous periods in its more than 100-year history. It was on the cusp of collapse in 2015, hit by unsustainable debts amid a collapse in commodities prices. 

The former chief executive officer oversaw a dramatic recovery — fueled by a rebound for many of the commodities it mines to record prices — and positioned Anglo for growth. The company reported its highest-ever earnings in his last year in charge.

Cutifani currently sits on TotalEnergies SE’s board and will take a role at Laing O’Rourke. He said he’s not currently looking to start a fund, but isn’t ruling it out, and “all options remain on the table.”

He’s not the only former mining CEO looking at new ways to draw investment into the sector. 

Mick Davis, who built Xstrata Plc into a $50 billion commodities powerhouse before its merger with Glencore Plc, started Vision Blue Resources to buy stakes in battery metals companies. It has already bought into vanadium and graphite projects.

(By Thomas Biesheuvel)

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