Rio Tinto has entered into a strategic partnership with Nano One® Materials Corp, a battery materials provider based in Barnaby, Canada. The agreement includes the supply of iron and lithium products, collaboration and a US $10 million investment into Nano One. The partnership is expected to accelerate Nano One’s multi-cathode commercialisation strategy and support cathode active materials manufacturing in Canada for a cleaner battery supply chain.
Rio Tinto and Nano One will, on closing of the agreement, enter a strategic collaboration agreement that includes a study of Rio Tinto’s battery metal products, including iron powders from the Rio Tinto Fer et Titane facility in Sorel-Tracy, Québec, as feedstock for the production of Nano One’s cathode materials.
Rio Tinto will contribute knowledge from its Critical Minerals and Technology Centre, which has developed experience 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 localisation of the lithium-ion battery value chain.
“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,” stated 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 localised battery ecosystem to serve the broader North American market. Rio Tinto brings deep experience in high volume production and technology commercialisation, as well as a growing battery metals business. We are excited to be partnering with Rio Tinto, our shared vision will see many opportunities for collaboration as we drive for change.”
Nano One’s patented One Pot Process and metal to cathode active material (M2CAM) technologies form a unique manufacturing platform that enables 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 with fewer steps, lower costs, less complexity and a much smaller environmental footprint. The technology applies to all lithium-ion battery chemistries for applications in electric vehicles, renewable energy storage and portable electronics.
Rio Tinto will collaborate as required on technical and business matters in developing, designing, constructing and operating cathode production facilities. Nano One will issue to Rio Tinto 1,000,000 non-transferrable share purchase warrants as consideration for its technical and support services. Each warrant will entitle Rio Tinto to purchase one share at an exercise price of CAN $4.00 for a period of twelve months from the date of issuance.
“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,” stated Marnie Finlayson, Managing Director of Rio Tinto’s Battery Materials portfolio. “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 commercialisation and large scale projects to this exciting initiative.”