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Johnian magazine issue 48, spring 2022

Peter Bacchus: in a nutshell

Written by Peter Bacchus (1988)

2 min read

Chairman and Chief Executive of Bacchus Capital, Peter Bacchus (1988) has worked as an investment banker and expert in the strategic natural resources sector. Peter reveals some of his past adventures and discusses Bacchus Capital’s latest venture, the Green14 conservation initiative.

I went up to St John’s to read Economics in 1988. Like Captain Kirk with Starfleet, it took me two goes, but when I arrived I was struck by the opportunity for adventure and new experiences, and this has really stayed with me.

After Cambridge I took up investment banking, focusing on the area that really interested me, strategic natural resources. If you have any interest in understanding why nations behave the way they do, you need to understand the competition for scarce global natural resources – from China’s political focus on sub-Saharan Africa to the current scramble for critical defence minerals and battery metals – it’s strategic natural resources, not soccer (sorry Franklin Foer), that explains geo-politics.

As a career, this also provided a great platform for adventure. I moved to Indonesia in 1996 and then, with the revolution and overthrow of Soeharto three years later, down to Australia. The next 15 years or so found me watching football matches with Uyghurs in far western China, flying falcons in Kazakhstan, held at gunpoint by militia in the DRC, drinking fermented yaks’ milk in the southern Gobi, landing helicopters on diamond dredges on the Skeleton coast, travelling with a Chinese delegation to the mountains of Peru and accidentally interviewed by pirate radio in Norilsk in the Russian arctic.

Appointed Global Head of Natural Resources at Morgan Stanley in around 2008, I had the opportunity to work with a talented team on some of the defining transactions for the sector,
including defending Western Mining in Australia and Rio Tinto in London from hostile takeover attempts. However, having moved back to the UK, I wanted to create something more in my own evil image and, with a small team of long-standing colleagues, created Bacchus Capital in 2017. A year later we established our first venture, negotiating a deal with the Kazak state uranium company to acquire a large amount of physical uranium, U308, and forming a company to do so. We named the company Yellow Cake, and listed it on the London Stock Exchange, where it has a capitalisation of around £700 million. Bacchus Capital now has a team of 25 working in the UK, Asia, Australia and Canada.

We launched our latest and most important venture, Green14, at COP26 with President Kenyatta of Kenya. Some time ago, I reunited with Cambridge alumnus Dr Max Graham, Chief Executive of an incredible conservation charity, Space for Giants, which has its origins in the protection of endangered elephant populations, and for several years I chaired its board of trustees. The Green14 initiative, a partnership between Bacchus Capital and Space for Giants, will protect some of the world’s most important natural ecosystems by connecting global investors with front line conservation, via the value of the carbon sequestered in these landscapes. Our aspiration is that this will transform the resources available for global conservation in Africa, and in so doing, combat climate change and alleviate rural poverty.

What would I tell my 16-year-old self? Probably that just because we take things for granted, doesn’t mean they will always be there; we should constantly challenge conventional wisdoms. Also, everyone grows out of their Morrissey phase, apart from Morrissey.

You can find out more about the Green 14 initiative at

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Chairman and Chief Executive of Bacchus Capital, Peter Bacchus has worked as an investment banker and expert in the strategic natural resources sector. His career has taken him around the world, from Indonesia to the southern Gobi, Kazakhstan to the mountains of Peru.