Mining companies are ramping up their investments in battery technologies and mining for battery metals. Due to the increase in electric vehicles and other battery-powered devices, the demand for these materials is expected to rise. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), one of the world’s largest mining companies, has invested $10 million in Nano One Materials, a Canadian company that is developing new battery technologies. The investment will be used to purchase the Candiac facility in Québec, and will give Rio Tinto a 4.9% stake in Nano One. Nano One will issue 4.6 million shares at C$2.70 in a non-brokered private placement.
Following the transaction, Nano One will acquire the Candiac facility in Quebec, Canada. The investment will also be used for working capital purposes, commercialisation, technology, and supply chain development. The investment represents a partnership that will go beyond just the purchase of the facility. The companies will study Rio Tinto’s battery metal products which include iron powders from its Fer et Titane facility in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. Then Nano One will be able to use those iron powders as part of its feedstock to make cathode materials.
Nano One CEO Dan Blondal commented: “The global transition to a low-carbon electrified economy will require millions of tonnes of battery materials, so it is critically important to produce these materials efficiently and with the lowest environmental footprint. Rio Tinto’s partnership and support complement our recent announcement to acquire Johnson Matthey’s LFP business in the nearby community of Candiac, Québec and amplifies the Government of Canada’s Mines-to-Mobility initiative, which aims to encourage a localised battery ecosystem to serve the broader North American market.”
Rio Tinto will also be partnering with Nano One for its technical and business issues around design, development, construction, and operations at cathode facilities. Both companies bring expertise from both sides of the supply chain. In return, Rio Tinto is going to provide its expertise from the company’s Critical minerals and Technology Centre in the partnership, to support the manufacturing of cathode active materials in Canada.
Cathodes are a critical component of lithium-ion batteries and the use of Rio Tinto’s products will help Nano One to improve its performance and reduce the cost of its cathode materials. This is an important step in developing new battery technologies that can be used in a variety of applications, including electric vehicles.
Rio Tinto Battery Materials portfolio managing director Marnie Finlayson commented: “Localised, clean and secure supply chains are critical for the success of the energy transition that is now underway and this requires partnerships with innovative companies like Nano One to help us differentiate, disrupt and accelerate the path to a net-zero future.”
Partnerships like this one are essential to the development of new battery technologies and the growth of the electric vehicle market. With the increase in demand for these materials, it is important to have a secure and reliable supply chain. These types of partnerships will help to ensure that there is a steady supply of battery metals and that new technologies can be developed quickly and efficiently.