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Vale SA has recruited former Anglo American boss Mark Cutifani to lead an independent board that will oversee its new base metals subsidiary, while flagging “news” on a strategic partner by midyear.

Cutifani will join Jerome Guillen, a former Tesla executive, on the so-called energy transition metals board, Vale CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo said on an earnings call earlier this month.

Vale, which makes most of its money from iron-ore mines in Brazil, is looking to bring in fresh capital and expertise to grow its nickel and copper operations in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia at a time when battery metal demand expands in the move away from fossil fuels.

The separation plan, which includes the sale of a 10% stake to a strategic investor, will also allow Vale to grow “inorganically” as the industry enters a consolidation phase, Bartolomeo said. But while there’s plenty of interest from prospective partners, the company will proceed with or without a partner, Bartolomeo said. Neither is taking the base metals unit public a “definitive option”.

“Obviously an IPO down the road is a liquidity event you could pursue,” the CEO said. “But the fundamentals why we brought Mark in is to help us on execution. There are many ways of liquidity.”