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Fortune collaborates with Rio Tinto on cobalt and bismuth recovery

Rio Tinto's Kennecott smelter in Utah

Rio Tinto's Kennecott smelter in Utah

29th September 2023

By: Creamer Media Reporter


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Canadian company Fortune Minerals has formed a partnership with diversified miner Rio Tinto to develop a technology that will improve recovery of cobalt and bismuth, both of which are considered critical minerals.

Under a memorandum of understanding, announced on Friday, 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. Both cobalt and bismuth are included in this list and are used for sustainable energy resources.

Cobalt is used to manufacture lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and store energy in electric vehicles (EVs), 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 EV powertrains.

“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,” commented Fortune CEO Robin Goad.

Rio Tinto Kennecott MD Nate Foster added that the group was committed to finding better ways to provide the materials the world needed 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.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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