The United States and Saudi Arabia are in talks to obtain metals from Africa to help them with their energy transition, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the negotiations.A state-backed Saudi company would buy stakes in mining assets worth $15 billion in African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Namibia, allowing U.S. companies to have the right to buy part of the production, the report adds. The United States is in a race to catch up with China in supplying cobalt, lithium and other metals used in batteries for electric cars, laptops and smartphones.In a similar deal in July, Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) (1211.SE) and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) acquired 10% of Brazil's Vale metal base, while American investment firm Engine No. 1 earned 3%. The newspaper said that PIF approached Congo in June to invest in cobalt, copper and tantalum in the country through its $3 billion joint venture in Ma'aden called Manara Minerals.Manara is investing in iron ore, nickel and lithium. The White House is seeking financial support from other economies in the region, but it is the talks with Saudi Arabia that have made the most progress, the Journal adds.The Saudi government and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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Wall Street Journal