Rio Tinto, CMI collaborate to leverage domestic critical material resources
AMES, IA — Rio Tinto, a global mining and metals company, has announced a new research initiative with the Critical Materials Institute (CMI). CMI is a US Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by Ames Laboratory. The initiative aims to ensure that the US fully leverages domestic mineral and metals resources required for global leadership in clean power manufacturing. Rio Tinto recognizes climate change as a risk to its business, but sees the transition to a clean power economy as an economic opportunity, according to Nigel Steward, managing director copper and diamond operations. CMI will contribute its research capabilities and Rio Tinto will contribute its operational expertise to the collaboration.
The partnership will focus on extracting critical minerals from the copper smelting process through research on:
- improving potential recovery rates of critical minerals and metals such as rhenium, selenium, telluriam, and others from samples taken from Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Copper Mine in Utah and the company’s Resolution Copper project under review and permitting in Arizona.
- increasing recovery rates of rare minerals and metals through tailings processing.
- examining process improvements that would facilitate blending processed electronic waste (e-waste) with copper concentrates to materially increase the recovery of valuable metals such as gold, copper, silver, platinum, lithium, and rare earths present in older electronic items.
Rio Tinto, headquartered in London, England, finds, mines, and processes mineral resources around the world. CMI, led by the Ames Laboratory in Ames, IA, focuses on technologies that make better use of materials and eliminate the need for materials that are subject to supply disruptions.