I reported last week that technology stalwart Tesla is looking at getting into the mining business. And this week we got a lot more interest in the same commodity the electric car maker is pursuing.
A number of big players this week said they are looking to focus on the lithium mining space. Including world-leading miner Rio Tinto, which noted it is looking at making its first moves into the minor metal.
The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday quoted Rio Tinto’s head of Diamonds and Minerals, Alan Davies, as saying that the miner is looking to jumpstart production through its Jadar lithium project in Serbia. Related: Colombia’s Oil Dreams Fall Short
“Lithium carbonate would be new for us, but the world will need a lot more lithium in the future for electric cars,” Davies said.
Davis also noted that Rio Tinto would look to develop lithium as a “strategic partner either with a car manufacturer or a battery manufacturer.” Further suggesting that end users of lithium like Tesla are going to be a major force in driving funding and development in this sector.
Lithium has also caught the attention of another big player in the global mining sector: the government of Chile. With officials there being quoted in local press Wednesday as saying they will look to focus on this metal as copper prices fall. Related: OPEC Members In Jeopardy, How Long Can They Hold Out?
Chile’s Minister of Mining, Aurora Williams, said that metals like lithium and gold will become increasingly important to Chile’s mining sector. Suggesting that the government may throw support behind this sector to aid Chile’s economic development during the current mining downturn.
That would be an important development for the global minerals sector. Potentially setting up lithium as one of the few “bright spots” for sentiment, funding, and project work in the mining industry today.
Watch for more deals being announced in Chile and beyond.
Here’s to a major role for a minor metal
By Dave Forest
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