US rare earths miner MP Materials to list on NYSE in $1.47 billion deal

US-based rare earths miner MP Materials will list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in a deal worth US$1.47 billion.

The merger with Fortress Value Acquisition Corp, controlled by Japan’s SoftBank, will raise $345 million of cash in trust for MP, along with an additional $200 million from institutional investors including Slate Path Capital and Chamath Palihapitiya.

Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will be named MP Materials Corp, and will be listed on the NYSE under the new ticker symbol ‘MP’. Jim Litinsky, MP’s co-chairman, will become chief executive of the new company.

MP is the owner and operator of Mountain Pass, the only rare earths mining and processing site of scale in North America. The company acquired the asset from bankrupted Molycorp in 2017. Incidentally, Molycorp was the last rare earths firm to list in New York.

MP plans to use the funds from the deal to upgrade outdated and mothballed Molycorp-era processing equipment in California. The company aims to process 5,000 tonnes per year of the two most common rare earth metals by the end of 2022.

The listing underscores Wall Street’s rising interest in efforts to boost production of strategic minerals, particularly as US relations with China – the world’s largest producer and processor of rare earths – remain on rocky ground.