AFR: PE firm Lionhead tips $30m into rare earths miner Vital Metals


ASX-listed Canadian rare earths producer Vital Metals was out with a $45 million placement on Thursday afternoon, telling investors private equity firm Lionhead Resources would tip in at least $30 million as a cornerstone investor.

Vital Metals was offering shares at 4¢ each, a 7.7 per cent discount to the last close. It was split into two tranches, with $41.7 million placement capacity available without needing shareholder approval.

Vital Metals has been producing from its Canadian Nechalacho project since June, 2021, for which the company has advised 95 million tonnes at 1.46 per cent total rare earth oxides. It’s also got gold, rare earths and battery metals projects in Canada, Africa and Germany.

The term sheet sent to potential investors said Vital Metals would use the proceeds to complete construction at its rare earths extraction facility at Saskatoon in Canada, and to meet commissioning and ramp-up expenditure.

Its freshly minted PE backer, Lionhead Resources, invests in emerging businesses in copper, lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese and graphite. It’s led by Richard Crookes, a former Macquarie executive director in the metals and energy, who was later an investment director at mining PE firm EMR Capital.

MST Financial Services and Petra Capital were running the placement. Bids were due 1pm Friday.

Vital metals had a $179.3 million market capitalisation at last close.

Source: The Australian Financial Review