By Rhiannon Hoyle

 

Rio Tinto, the world's second-biggest miner by market value, is building a battery lab in Australia where it can test how the commodities it produces work in the likes of electric-vehicle batteries, said the company's minerals chief, Sinead Kaufman.

In prepared remarks for an industry forum on Wednesday, Kaufman said Rio Tinto's battery lab in Melbourne is expected to be operational by November and is intended to improve the miner's understanding of battery production, manufacturing and chemistry.

"At this lab we will build our own batteries, allowing us to test how our minerals and other products will perform in real-world applications," said Kaufman.

Rio Tinto, which today relies heavily on steel ingredient iron ore for the bulk of its earnings, set up a battery materials business in 2021 as part of a strategy to expand production of commodities essential to a clean-energy transition. Last year, it spent $825 million on the Rincon project in Argentina, where it aims to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate from raw brine.

 

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 27, 2023 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT)

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