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Mining major, Rio Tinto to invest US$10M in battery material maker, Nano One

Mining and metals major, Rio Tinto has announced to invest US$10 million in Canada-based battery material manufacturer, Nano One.

Rio Tinto has entered a strategic partnership with Nano One for providing battery metals (iron and lithium) for Nano One's cathode process technologies and also made a strategic equity investment worth US$ 10M.

"This partnership and funding will accelerate Nano One's multi-cathode (multi-CAM) commercialization strategy and support cathode active materials (CAM) manufacturing in Canada for a cleaner and more efficient battery supply chain for North American and overseas markets," Nano One stated in its official release. 

Image source: Nano One.

The company noted, that Nano One's patented One Pot Process and metal to cathode active material (M2CAM) technologies enable nickel-rich (NMC), iron-rich (LFP), and manganese-rich (LNMO) lithium-ion cathode active materials to be made sulfate-free from a range of battery metal sources at a lower cost, with less complexity, and a much smaller environmental footprint. These technologies are applicable to all lithium-ion battery chemistries used in electric vehicles, renewable energy storage, and portable electronics

"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," said Dan Blondal, CEO of Nano One.

"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 localized battery ecosystem to serve the broader North American market."

Strategic Equity Investment

The latest financial infusion in Nano One by Rio Tinto will be directed towards technology and supply chain development, commercialization, Nano One's acquisition of the Candiac facility in Québec, and the facility's conversion to One-Pot lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and industrial-scale piloting of other Nano One CAM technologies, among other purposes.

Agreement for Strategic Collaboration

According to Nano One, on closing the strategic equity investment, the two companies will enter a strategic collaboration agreement that includes a study of Rio Tinto's battery metal products, including iron powders from the Rio Tinto's Fer et Titane facility in Sorel-Tracy, Québec, as feedstock for the production of Nano One's cathode materials. Rio Tinto will also share know-how from its Critical Minerals and Technology Centre, which has developed expertise in the extraction and processing of critical minerals such as lithium and scandium, as well as minerals from Canada, the United States, and other international sources to further drive localization of the lithium-ion battery value chain.

Further, Rio Tinto will collaborate on technical and business matters as may be required in developing, designing, constructing, and operating cathode production facilities.

"Localized, 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, said Marnie Finlayson, Managing Director of Rio Tinto's Battery Materials portfolio, commenting on the latest partnership.

"We are pleased to back and support Nano One's ambitions to drive for change and we look forward to bringing Rio Tinto's deep experience and know-how in commercialization and large-scale projects to this exciting initiative."

Author : Shraddha Kakade
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