Rio Tinto Group is actively looking for lithium acquisitions, predicting prices for the key raw material in electric-vehicle batteries will stay high for a “long period of time”.
The world’s second-biggest mining company is pursuing “organic and M&A growth opportunities” in the sector, it said in a document published Tuesday.
Lithium has been on a tear, surging more than 1,100% to a record in the past two years, as supply struggled to keep up with rampant demand. Rio predicts half of all car sales could be EVs by 2030, up from 9% last year, and miners have been scouring the world for opportunities to bring on new supplies.
Rio, mainly an iron ore miner, wants to increase its exposure to metals required for clean energy technology, including copper and lithium, and is developing projects for the battery metal in Argentina and California.
“High-grade brines and Australia hard rock” will be called upon to meet demand, the company said. Rio currently has no lithium projects in Australia, the world’s largest exporter of the metal. The miner’s ambitions received a setback earlier this year when Serbia’s government blocked its plan to mine the metal at the proposed Jadar project in the country. – (Mining Weekly)