Galena Asset Management, an independent fund manager, will now act as the corporate venturing unit of Switzerland-based commodities trader Trafigura and has raised $275m in the first close of its mining fund. Founded in 2003, Galena is an independent firm named after the most important lead ore mineral and the Galena Private Equity Resource Fund will invest equity and debt in small to mid-sized miners so it will own 25% to 60% of the entrepreneurail business digging for coal as well as base, ferrous and precious metals. The fund is expected to made a final close at $600m by the end of the year. Jesus Fernandez (pictured) will manage the Galena fund as Trafigura’s exclusive mining investment vehicle. He has led Trafigura’s mining investment team since 2005. The team, which has been transferred to Galena as part of the fundraise, has invested in five mining companies for Trafigura, of which four have been exited, producing an average multiple of 3.9 times the original investment. Fernandez said: “Small to medium-sized mining companies are finding it harder to access funding in the current economic climate. The new fund provides a mechanism for bridging investor appetite for commodity-linked assets and companies that require capital at a reasonable cost.” The move follows peer Cargill’s spin off of its ventures unit to Black River Capital Partners a few years earlier.

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