Fortune and Rio Tinto collaborate to expand NA critical minerals production

Fortune Minerals Ltd and Rio Tinto are collaborating to develop…

Fortune Minerals Ltd and Rio Tinto are collaborating to develop technology that will improve recovery of the critical minerals cobalt and bismuth.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the companies, testing will be done at Rio Tinto Kennecott’s integrated copper mining and smelting operations in Utah and at Fortune’s planned Alberta Refinery.

The partnership aims to maximise the value of critical mineral supply chain investments and increase Fortune’s planned cobalt and bismuth refining operations to process co-product streams of the minerals recovered from the Kennecott smelter.

In 2020, the Canadian and US governments signed a Joint Action Plan on Critical Mineral Collaboration to enable more North American production of the critical minerals needed in new technologies. Cobalt and bismuth are both included in this list and are used for sustainable energy resources. Fortune and Rio Tinto are pleased to establish this partnership and work together to expand North American supply chains.

Cobalt is used to manufacture lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and store energy in electric vehicles, portable electronics, and stationary storage cells. Bismuth is used in automotive coatings, paints, and low temperature alloys and castings. Consumption is growing primarily as a non-toxic and environmentally safe replacement for lead for products used in potable drinking water sources and electronics, glass, and ammunition. A significant new use for bismuth is in environmentally safe, high density plugs to properly decommission oil and gas wells, preventing greenhouse gas leakage, blowouts, and aquifer contamination. Manganese-bismuth magnets have also been identified for potential replacement of rare earth elements in electric vehicle powertrains.

Robin Goad, President and CEO of Fortune Minerals, said:

“Working with Rio Tinto to recover metals from their co-product streams is part of our corporate strategy to expand production of critical minerals, and we are excited to be working with one of the world’s premier mining companies on the first of these opportunities. This collaboration could provide a solution to support greater production of the metals needed for the energy transition and growing sustainable economy.”

Nate Foster, Rio Tinto Kennecott Managing Director, commented:

“We are committed to find better ways to provide the materials the world needs to grow and decarbonise. We are enthusiastic about this partnership with Fortune Minerals as we continue looking at our waste streams to develop new, sustainable sources of critical minerals here in North America.”

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