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Rio Tinto’s $350M investment boosts Rincon lithium project, elevates Argentina’s lithium industry

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Rio Tinto’s significant investment of US$350 million into the Rincon lithium project in Argentina marks a substantial commitment to the development of lithium resources. This investment aims to advance the project’s development, with plans to commission a small-scale starter plant by the end of 2024, targeting a capacity of 3.0 kilotons per year (ktpy). Additionally, funds will be allocated for initial works toward a full-scale operation, with a projected capacity of 50.0 ktpy of LCE (Lithium Carbonate Equivalent) battery-grade lithium carbonate by the end of the decade.

Since acquiring the Rincon project in 2022 for US$825 million, Rio Tinto has been focused on enhancing its understanding of the brine deposit and developing a direct lithium extraction process through pilot-scale test work initiated in 2022. Upon successful commissioning, Rio Tinto will join Lithium Americas and Arcadium Lithium as commercial-scale lithium brine producers in Argentina. The expansion of lithium production in Argentina is anticipated, with over 20 projects expected to commence production by 2030. This reflects the growing global demand for lithium, particularly in the context of increasing electric vehicle adoption and renewable energy storage solutions.

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