Powering a cleaner future

Lithium plays a role in a sustainable world.

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Lithium from Rio Tinto

Lithium plays an essential role in our daily lives, and is used in a variety of products, including:

  • Batteries for electric vehicles (EV)
  • Commercial and residential energy storage batteries
  • Enamels and glazes for industrial use

Lithium is considered a critical mineral and an essential materials for a low-carbon future.

In early 2022, we completed the acquisition of our Rincon project—a large, undeveloped lithium-brine project located in the heart of the “lithium triangle”  in Argentina. A long-life, scalable resource capable of producing battery-grade lithium carbonate from raw brine, the project will help us deliver this vital material to the global energy industry while meeting our commitment to decarbonize our operations by 2050.

We are also investing in a future source at our Jadar project in Serbia, subject to receiving all relevant approvals, permits, and licenses and ongoing engagement with local communities, the Government of Serbia, and civil society. The scale and high-grade nature of the Jadar deposit provides the potential for a mine to supply lithium products into the electric vehicle value chain for decades. Following ramp up to full production in 2029, the mine will produce ~58,000 tonnes1 of lithium carbonate, making us one of the top 10 lithium producers in the world.

1These production targets were previously reported in a release to the ASX dated 10 December 2020, “Rio Tinto declares maiden Ore Reserve at Jadar.” All material assumptions underpinning the production targets continue to apply and have not materially changed.

Lithium carbonate for the battery industry


Battery-grade lithium carbonate is used to make lithium-ion batteries—commonly found in portable electronics, electric vehicles, and large energy storage systems.

Compared to traditional battery technology, lithium-ion batteries offer:

  • Higher energy density which is important in many applications to reduce weight
  • Low self-discharge rates
  • Low maintenance

Lithium forms an essential component of not just lithium-ion batteries but also other battery chemistries. We expect to produce battery grade lithium carbonate that meets the strictest quality assurance standards required by the electric vehicle industry.


Technical-grade lithium carbonate is frequently used in ceramic glazes where it acts as a flux. Adding lithium to glazes can also:

  • Lower the melting point which can translate into a lower firing temperature
  • Improve viscosity
  • Brighten colors
  • Increase transparency
  • Help create a harder finished surface and increase ceramic strength
Ceramic dish with lithium glaze


Rio Tinto is proud to be an associate member of the International Lithium Association (​ILiA) and a corporate member fo the Global Battery Alliance (GBA).
International Lithium Association (​ILiA) logo
Global Battery Alliance logo

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