Rio Tinto will redouble efforts to find hard rock lithium in the Western Australian outback, after confirming it would extend an exploration partnership near the town of Sandstone for the third time in two years. Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm has made no secret of the miner’s desire to increase exposure to the battery material.
Rio finalised the $US825 million ($1.2 billion) acquisition of the Rincon project – near Orocobre’s flagship Olaroz operations – in Argentina last year. The Ango-Australian mining major already produces lithium from waste rock at a Californian mine, and last year entered into partnership with Canadian spodumene producers in the Canadian province of Quebec.
And despite having its licences revoked in 2022, Rio has not given up hope for its $US2.4 billion plan to build Europe’s biggest lithium mine in Serbia’s Jadar Valley.
On Tuesday, ASX-listed lithium hopeful Everest Metals told investors that Rio Tinto Exploration, a subsidiary of Rio, will commence a drilling program to assess reserves at its Rover Project, located near Sandstone.
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