Pala Investments eyes the U.S. rare earths market
Vladimir Iorich, the Russian billionaire and the founder of Pala Investments, a leading private equity and a venture capital firm, is considering expanding in the US rare earth industry through the acquisition of Mountain Pass, the sole significantly developed source for rare earth elements in the U.S., which was formerly owned by Molycorp, Inc.
Mountain Pass – including land and equipment – will be put up for auction in March. It was the only rare earths mine operating in the United States, before it went bankrupt in 2015.
Get our daily investorintel update
The decision to expand in the US could be related with a search by Vladimir Iorich and his partners for new investment opportunities, as well as the latest problems of Pala Investments in Australia, which mining industry, to date, has been one the priority directions for Pala’s developments.
In the case of Australia, Pala Investments has been an active investor in the Australian mining industry for the last almost 10 years, however the recent decision of the Australian Federal Court to freeze Pala’s $107 million worth of shares in the local gold miner Alacer Gold as was the group’s 6 per cent holding in Perth-based uranium explorer Peninsula Energy, (valued at more than $9 million), that was taken on the request of Australian Taxation Office’s Project Wickenby team may result in a significant decline of interest of the Russian businessman in Australian assets and business activities in the local market.
Vladimir Iorich made a significant part of his fortune in 2007 after the sale of his 42.2% stake in Mechel, one of Russia’s leading mining and metals companies, where he spent several years as head of “Mechel Trading AG”, (a distribution arm of the company) to his long-term partner and permanent head of the company Igor Zyuzin. Until 2014 Iorich was in the Forbes list of billionaires.
In Russia Vladimir Iorich is considered as one of the most successful businessman and proactive investors, which is mainly due to his decision to sell his shares in Mechel almost at the peak of their value and just several months before the beginning of the global recession in 2008, which resulted in serious financial problems of Mechel and almost the bankruptcy of the company.
Pala Investments also owns a controlling stake in Nevada Copper, which owns the Pumpkin Hollow Copper Development Property in Nevada and which is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Sierra Rutile Company, whose shares are traded in London.
Eugene Gerden is an international free-lance writer, based in St. Petersburg, who specializes on writing in the field of mining, metals and rare earth metals. ... <Read more about Eugene Gerden>