Green Investing Co.

Build Wealth. Save the Planet.

Rio Tinto Builds a War Chest of Lithium Tenements, Avoiding M&A (for now)

Rio Tinto, one of the world’s biggest mining companies – is charting a strategy to secure lithium supply.

The firm is building up a war chest of mining tenements in the Western Australian outback.

The activities have become a major talking point in financial media on what the London-based company might be up to.

Investors are looking to see if Rio might start buying up existing lithium mining players. However, it appears, for now, to be wanting to take its own uphill journey for the minerals needed for EVs and renewable energy storage.

Rio wants to support the electrification of the global economy, CEO Jakob Stausholm told Bloomberg TV this week.

Although the leadership is most enthusiastic about supplying the world with copper and aluminium, he said.

“It’s not that lithium is ever going to be as big as copper and aluminium,” he said.

“It is going to be quite a big industry, but still tiny compared to the copper world,” Stausholm, a Danish national and former RIO CFO, said.

“We are strong in exploration, so we think we can play a meaningful role to contribute (to lithium),” he said.

When asked if Rio Tino would consider mergers and acquisitions to obtain lithium supply, he said the company would rather focus on its own exploration of lithium tenements.

“We would rather use our competencies to develop the projects ourselves because lithium companies right now are very expensive,” he said.

“We believe we can find much cheaper ways to get there,” he said.

Rio Tino has secured over 145,000 hectares of tenements in highly prospective areas of Western Australia. 

Much of that is in the Kathleen Valley lithium region of Western Australia, home to Liontown Resources – for which there is a multi-billion battle for control. 

Rio is also building tenements in the region around the Mt Ida lithium deposit, owned by Delta Lithium.

Rio’s battery metals boss is local Marnie Finlayson, based in Perth, Western Australia’s capital.

The executive is overseeing the battery metals operations globally and the ‘stealth’ buying up of tenements in the region.

Meanwhile, Rio is still trying to secure an agreement with the Serbian government on a lithium mine, at a time when the EU is trying to secure critical minerals supply. The company has also spent millions of Europs buying up land in the target region.

The project near Loznica, western Serbia, would make Rio one of the top 10 lithium producers in the world.

The company is also focused on opportunities in Argentina, in the Rincon Project.

Green Investing Co. - Build Wealth. Save the Planet.