• 365 days Will The ECB Continue To Hike Rates?
  • 366 days Forbes: Aramco Remains Largest Company In The Middle East
  • 367 days Caltech Scientists Succesfully Beam Back Solar Power From Space
  • 767 days Could Crypto Overtake Traditional Investment?
  • 772 days Americans Still Quitting Jobs At Record Pace
  • 774 days FinTech Startups Tapping VC Money for ‘Immigrant Banking’
  • 777 days Is The Dollar Too Strong?
  • 777 days Big Tech Disappoints Investors on Earnings Calls
  • 778 days Fear And Celebration On Twitter as Musk Takes The Reins
  • 780 days China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia
  • 780 days Tech and Internet Giants’ Earnings In Focus After Netflix’s Stinker
  • 784 days Crypto Investors Won Big In 2021
  • 784 days The ‘Metaverse’ Economy Could be Worth $13 Trillion By 2030
  • 785 days Food Prices Are Skyrocketing As Putin’s War Persists
  • 787 days Pentagon Resignations Illustrate Our ‘Commercial’ Defense Dilemma
  • 788 days US Banks Shrug off Nearly $15 Billion In Russian Write-Offs
  • 791 days Cannabis Stocks in Holding Pattern Despite Positive Momentum
  • 792 days Is Musk A Bastion Of Free Speech Or Will His Absolutist Stance Backfire?
  • 792 days Two ETFs That Could Hedge Against Extreme Market Volatility
  • 794 days Are NFTs About To Take Over Gaming?
The Lumber Bubble Is Bursting

The Lumber Bubble Is Bursting

Lumber prices have skyrocketed in…

Lunar Mining May Commence As Early As 2025

Lunar Mining May Commence As Early As 2025

Plans to start mining the Moon as…

Mining.com

Mining.com

Mining.com

MINING.com is a web-based global mining publication focusing on news and commentary about mining and mineral exploration. The site is a one-stop-shop for mining industry…

Contact Author

  1. Home
  2. Commodities
  3. Other

Rio Tinto Vies To Become Top U.S. Lithium Producer

Lithium Miner

Rio Tinto, (ASX, LON:RIO), the world’s No. 2 miner, may become the largest lithium producer in the United States if a pilot project that is kicking off at its Boron mine, in the California desert, proves to be successful enough to be expanded. 

The company will be studying ways to extract lithium from tailings at the 90-year-old open pit mine, which produces borates — a group of minerals used to make insulation fibreglass wind turbines and consumer goods such as soaps and cosmetics.

Rio’s discovery of lithium at Boron was a fluke. The miner was actually testing Boron’s tailings to see whether the presence of gold was significant and found instead traces of lithium at a concentration higher than domestic projects under development.

“If trials continue to prove successful, this has the potential to become America’s largest domestic producer of battery-grade lithium — all without the need for further mining,” Rio Tinto’s energy and minerals chief executive, Bold Baatar, said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

The company has earmarked a $10 million investment to build a pilot plant that will be able to produce 10 tonnes a year of lithium-carbonate, needed in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and high tech devices. If that works, Rio Tinto would consider investing in a $50 million industrial-scale plant to generate 5,000 tonnes a year — enough for around 15,000 Tesla Model S batteries.

The projected production would be roughly the same as the capacity of Albemarle ’s Silver Peak mine in Nevada, which currently is the only lithium-carbonate producing asset in the country, according to the US Geological Survey.  Related: Safe Haven Assets Shine As Recession Looms

Until now, the global miner’s incursion in the lithium market has been mostly limited to its 100%-owned lithium and borates mineral project in Jadar, Serbia. While still in the early stages of development, the company plans to seek board approval next year, with first production expected in 2024 — the fastest possible development schedule for the operation.

Last year, Rio allegedly attempted to buy a $5 billion stake in Chile’s Chemical and Mining Society (SQM), the world’s second largest lithium producer. 

In March, the head of new ventures and the company’s lithium division, Andrew Latham, said the company was “actively looking” to invest in metals to be impacted by the EV market.

Prices for the white metal have dropped since mid-2018, ending a three-year rally, due partly to an avalanche of new supply coming mostly from Australia and signs of demand weakness.

By Mining.com

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment