Australian mining company Rio Tinto and Nano One Materials, a clean technology company focused on battery materials, have teamed up to provide iron and lithium products.

In addition, Rio Tinto has made a $10m equity investment in Nano One, in exchange for around 4.9% of the latter’s current issued and outstanding shares.

The investment is expected to advance Nano One’s multi-cathode (multi-CAM) commercialisation, and support its cathode active materials (CAM) production in Canada.

Nano One has developed and patented its One Pot Process and metal to cathode active material (M2CAM) technologies to make sulphate-free lithium-ion cathode active materials.

It enables nickel-rich (NMC), iron-rich (LFP) and manganese-rich (LNMO) active materials from different battery metal sources, cutting down the costs, complexity and carbon footprint.

Nano One will use the investment to improve its technology and supply chain development, and fund its acquisition of Candiac facility in Québec, announced last month.

Also, it will use the funds for conversion to One-Pot lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and industrial scale piloting of its other CAM technologies, and for its working capital.

Nano One CEO Dan Blondal said: “Rio Tinto’s partnership and support complement our recent announcement to acquire Johnson Matthey’s LFP business in the nearby community of Candiac, Québec.

“Rio Tinto brings deep experience in high volume production and technology commercialisation, as well as a growing battery metals business. We are excited to be partnering with Rio Tinto, our shared vision will see many opportunities for collaboration as we drive for change.”

The two companies will enter into a strategic collaboration to study Rio Tinto’s battery metal products for the production of Nano One’s cathode materials.

Rio Tinto will use the iron powders from its Fer et Titane facility in Sorel-Tracy, Québec, as feedstock for the cathode materials.

The company through its Critical Minerals and Technology Centre and other global sources will support further localisation of the lithium-ion battery value chain.

Also, it will provide support on technical and business matters required in developing, designing, constructing and operating cathode production facilities.

Rio Tinto battery materials portfolio managing director Marnie Finlayson said: “Localised, clean and secure supply chains are critical for the success of the energy transition that is now underway and this requires partnerships with innovative companies like Nano One to help us differentiate, disrupt and accelerate the path to a net-zero future.

“We are pleased to back and support Nano One’s ambitions to drive for change and we look forward to bringing Rio Tinto’s deep experience and know-how in commercialisation and large-scale projects to this exciting initiative.”