Rio Tinto has made a US$10 million strategic equity investment in Nano One Materials, a Canada-based technology innovator in battery materials.
The collaboration aims to provide iron and lithium products, and will accelerate Nano One’s multi-cathode (multi-CAM) commercialisation 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 chief executive officer Dan Blondal said the global transition to a low-carbon electrified economy would require millions of tonnes of battery materials, so it was 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,” he said.
“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 sulphate-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.
The agreement 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 know-how from its Critical Minerals and Technology Centre, which has developed a unique 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.
Rio Tinto will collaborate on technical and business matters as may be required in developing, designing, constructing and operating cathode production facilities.