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Rio Tinto reviews $140m estimate for Argentina lithium starter plant

19th July 2023

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Diversified miner Rio Tinto said on Tuesday that it was reviewing the $140-million cost estimate and schedule for the development of a starter plant at its Rincon lithium project, in Argentina.

The company cited cost escalations as the reason for the review.

Rio Tinto acquired the Rincon project last year, as part of its strategy to strengthen its presence in the battery materials business. The project aims to establish a 3 000 t/y lithium carbonate starter plant at the site.

Despite the ongoing review, Rio Tinto assured that development work is still progressing. The company has made headway in the construction of the camp and airstrip for the project, with ongoing enabling works for the process plant.

Further, studies for the full-scale operation are ongoing and the miner has been carrying out exploration to further understand the basin, brine and water reservoirs.

Rio Tinto sees significant potential in the Rincon project, stating that it could become a long-life, scaleable resource capable of producing high-grade lithium carbonate. The direct lithium extraction technology proposed for the project has the potential to significantly increase lithium recoveries as compared to solar evaporation ponds.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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