The U.S. government has taken an equity stake in a battery-metals company in a move that undercuts dependence on China for a key material used in electric vehicles.

TechMet Ltd. received a $25 million investment from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to help develop a Brazilian nickel and cobalt mine, the Dublin-based company said Monday in a statement. Cobalt is an important ingredient in cathodes of most electric-vehicle batteries and its refining capacity is largely under China’s control.

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