Up to now, Rio Tinto has started cooperation with many power battery manufacturers and electric vehicle companies around the world, which will further expand the company's mining territory.
Old mines "turn waste into treasure"
According to the Los Angeles Times, Rio Tinto said in a recent statement that the company unexpectedly discovered abundant lithium carbonate resources when it was working on the Nugget in the US mining area Boron. It is understood that Boron Minerals is located in California, USA, with more than 80 regional mineral resources.
According to the current plan, Rio Tinto has started lithium carbonate production in the Boron area. It is expected to build a small-scale pilot production plant with an annual output of 10 tons of lithium carbonate and an investment of about 10 million US dollars. Rio Tinto said in a statement that if trial production goes smoothly, it will further expand the scale of lithium production, increase lithium production in California, and improve the quality of its lithium minerals in the United States.
It is understood that there is only one local lithium producer in the United States, which is the SilverPeak lithium mine in Nevada operated by Albermarle, the world's largest lithium producer.
BoldBaatar, CEO of Rio Tinto Energy and Minerals, said in an interview with Reuters that the cost of mining lithium will be greatly reduced because the Boron mine has been developed for many years.
The Wall Street Journal wrote that global mining companies are reducing mining costs and using wasteful new technologies to achieve waste utilization in waste minerals can effectively reduce development costs. As global demand is constantly changing, the price of lithium and other battery metals has soared in the past decade, and the once-abandoned minerals are likely to become worthless.
It is understood that once the lithium mine discovered by Rio Tinto in California will achieve large-scale production, the production capacity is expected to be equivalent to the production capacity of Albermarle's lithium mine in Nevada, USA. The development of Rio Tinto's new business may rapidly expand its competition in the US market. force.
BoldBaatar said: "If trial production and large-scale production go smoothly, Rio Tinto is expected to become the largest local battery-level lithium producer in the United States. The lithium supply will be able to meet the future needs of the United States. The US may no longer need to mine new mines. ""
Trying to share a share in the electric car market
As the world's second largest mining company, Rio Tinto plans to invest US$50 million to build an industrial-grade lithium production plant. The annual lithium production is expected to reach 5,000 tons and will establish a cooperative relationship with downstream battery manufacturers.
Rio Tinto said in a statement that once the lithium production plant is completed, it will be able to supply raw materials for Panasonic and other battery cathode manufacturers in Japan, enough to supply power to 15,000 Tesla ModelS electric vehicles.
As a multinational company with a multi-mineral business, Rio Tinto currently operates in coal, iron, copper, gold, diamonds and aluminum. Insiders pointed out that in recent years, Rio Tinto has gradually divested its coal business and entered some low-carbon fields. The expansion of lithium production business is part of its low-carbon transformation.
It is understood that Rio Tinto has already started to acquire some lithium mine assets on a global scale and has already developed the Jadar lithium mine in Serbia. Financial institution Morgan Stanley predicts that by the outbreak of the electric vehicle industry, global demand for lithium carbonate is expected to double by 2017 in 2017. Data show that Rio Tinto's current lithium production accounts for about 5% of global lithium demand.
In fact, in addition to Rio Tinto, many mining giants around the world have spotted the expanding electric vehicle market with the intention of taking a share. Peng Boshe wrote that due to the expansion of the electric vehicle market, many mining companies in the world have gradually entered the battery metal field, and Rio Tinto is the first multinational mining giant involved in lithium mine production.
It is understood that in order to enter the power battery industry chain, multinational mining company Glencore announced plans to increase the production of copper, nickel, cobalt and other battery metals, while the world's largest mining company BHP Billiton (BHP) is planning to force metal nickel and power battery cathode materials Production. BHP Billiton's chief financial officer Peter Beaven said in the first half of this year that lithium is a relatively attractive business option for them.
According to sources, Rio Tinto has communicated with a number of power battery manufacturers and electric vehicle companies around the world, including the Chinese battery manufacturer Ningde era and the US electric car manufacturer Tesla.
Layout of the lithium industry "just in time"
In a report released in July this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) pointed out that with the rapid growth of electric vehicle usage, the demand for power batteries is also rising. By 2030, global lithium demand will climb to eight times. Although Australia and Chile have been planning to increase production as the world's major lithium producers since 2018, global electric vehicle sales growth has slowed, and the global lithium market has experienced a short supply surplus, but BNEF pointed out that until around 2025 The supply and demand of the global lithium market is likely to achieve a balance again.
Reuters wrote that Rio Tinto's efforts to expand US domestic lithium production have been supported by US government departments as global lithium demand is still expected to rise. The US Department of the Interior has said that lithium is a "strategic mineral" that is vital to the US economy and national security. The United States needs to increase its emphasis on lithium. Lithium is used in the electric vehicle industry and other high-tech equipment. The field has important applications. US President Trump has repeatedly stressed that the US rare earth metals and other industries are "strategic minerals." The Los Angeles Times wrote that Rio Tinto is actively developing other metal minerals businesses at the right time.
Up to now, in addition to vigorously deploying the lithium mining industry, Rio Tinto has also begun to lay out the US rare earth metal industry chain. In addition, Rio Tinto has increased copper production in Utah, USA, and plans to expand the supply of US metal indium to meet the production needs of US PV modules and electronic touch screens.