Rio Tinto developing chemical procedure for extraction of rare mineral

Rio Tinto is engaging its team of global experts to develop a new chemical procedure to process a mineral known only to occur at Jadar in Serbia.

Should the project proceed to production, a pilot processing plant that has been built within a large shipping container will be relocated to the Serbian mine site.

Rio Tinto’s Technical Development Centre in Bundoora aims to provide a significant portion of global demand for lithium and boron sourced from the new mineral jadarite. It was first discovered in 2004.

While lithium helps power electric vehicles and mobile phones, borates are essential components in heat-resistant glass, fibreglass and smartphone screens.

The technical centre, only 16km from Rio’s Melbourne headquarter, is applying groundbreaking methods to break jadarite down to these component parts.

Commenting on the significance of the Bundoora site, Rio Tinto’s group executive – growth and innovation Stephen McIntosh said, “Our Bundoora Technical Development Centre was established more than 25 years ago. It has a proud history of applying innovative thinking to help us to maximise value in our business.

“The centre is actively involved in applying technical expertise to improve how we find, study, build, optimise and close our operations.”

In helping deliver global mining solutions, Victorian companies were engaged in running the pilot processing plant, results analysis and onsite assembly.

This year global mining projects have a chance to connect with Australia’s mining equipment technology and services (METS) companies at IMARC.

The fifth annual conference is held from October 29 to November 1 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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