Rio Tinto announced that it has commenced production of battery-grade lithium from waste rock at the Boron mine in California, United States.
The battery-grade lithium is being produced at a lithium demonstration plant at the Boron mine site, which was set up after an initial small-scale trial in 2019 successfully proved the process of roasting and leaching waste rock to recover high grades of lithium.
Rio Tinto Minerals chief executive Sinead Kaufman said the demonstration plant was the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at Boron, to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value out of waste piles from over 90 years of mining at the operation.
“This is a valuable next step in scaling up our production of lithium at the Boron site, all from using waste material without the need for further mining,” Mr Kaufman said.
“It shows the innovative thinking we are applying across our business to find new ways to meet the demand for emerging commodities like lithium, which are part of the transition to a low-carbon future.”
Image credit: www.riotinto.com