Nano One Materials Corp (TSX:NANO) has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO), providing iron and lithium products, collaboration and a US$10 million investment in Nano One by the mining giant.

The partnership and funding are intended to accelerate Nano One’s multi-cathode (multi-CAM) commercialization strategy. It should also help support cathode active material (CAM) manufacturing in Canada, helping to build a cleaner and more efficient battery supply chain for North American and overseas markets.

“The global transition to an electrified low-carbon economy will require millions of tons of battery materials, so it is extremely important to produce these materials efficiently and with the lowest environmental footprint,” said Dan BlondalCEO of Nano One.

Rio Tinto’s partnership and support complement Nano One’s recent announcement to acquire Johnson Matthey’s LFP markets in the nearby community of Candiac, Quebec, and amplifies the Government of Canada’s Mines-to-Mobility initiative, which aims to encourage a localized battery ecosystem to serve the broader North American market. Rio Tinto brings to the partnership deep experience in high-volume production and technology commercialization, as well as a growing battery metals business.

“Localized, clean and secure supply chains are essential for the success of the ongoing energy transition and this requires partnerships with innovative companies like Nano One to help us differentiate, disrupt and accelerate the path to a clean future. zero,” said Marnie FinlaysonManaging Director of Rio Tinto’s battery materials portfolio.

Nano One’s patented One Pot process and metal-cathode active material (M2CAM) technologies form a unique manufacturing platform that enables nickel-rich (NMC), iron-rich (LFP) lithium-ion cathode active materials and Manganese-Rich (LNMO) to be made sulfate-free from a range of battery metal sources with fewer steps, lower costs, less complexity and a much smaller environmental footprint.

The technology applies to all lithium-ion battery chemistries for applications in electric vehicles, renewable energy storage and portable electronics.

Rio Tinto equity investment

Rio Tinto made a strategic equity investment in Nano One for gross proceeds of US$10 million, equivalent to C$12,536,500. Upon closing, Nano One will issue an aggregate of 4,643,148 common shares, or approximately 4.9% of the currently issued and outstanding shares of Nano One, at C$2.70 per share in a private placement without intermediate. This investment will be directed towards technology and supply chain development, commercialization, Nano One’s acquisition of the Candiac facility in Quebec (announced May 25, 2022 pending completion), conversion to One-Pot lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and industrial scale piloting of other Nano One CAM technologies and for working capital purposes.

Provisions of the investment agreement with Rio Tinto include participation rights in any future equity financing to maintain a pro rata participation for a period of five years from the closing date; a lock-up on the sale of securities and a standstill for a period of 12 months from the closing date, subject to certain exemptions.

“Canada has positioned itself as a world leader in critical minerals and batteries, and with partnerships like the one we see here today with Nano One, Rio Tinto and our government, we continue to see the growing success of the Canadian electric vehicle battery market,” said Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, on the announcement of the agreement. “Over the past few years, our government has supported Nano One with more than $10 million in funding to help bring its unique innovation to market, doubling Canadian innovation and the expertise of Canadian workers in the technology sector. essential minerals.

Strategic collaboration agreement

Upon closing, Rio Tinto and Nano One will enter into a strategic collaboration agreement that includes a study of Rio Tinto’s battery metal products, including iron powders from the Rio Tinto Fer et Titane plant in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec , as a raw material for the production of Nano One’s cathode materials. Rio Tinto will bring the know-how of its Critical Minerals and Technology Centre, which has developed unique expertise in the mining and processing of critical minerals such as lithium and scandium, as well as minerals from Canada, the United States and other international sources. to promote localization of the lithium-ion battery value chain.

Rio Tinto will collaborate on the technical and commercial issues necessary for the development, design, construction and operation of the cathode production facilities. Nano One will issue Rio Tinto 1,000,000 non-transferable equity warrants in consideration for their technical and support services. Each warrant will entitle Rio Tinto to purchase one share at an exercise price of C$4.00 for a period of 12 months from the date of issue.

“Critical minerals are a generational opportunity for Canada, and our government is committed to developing an end-to-end Canadian supply chain for batteries, from exploration to recycling. That’s why the partnership between Nano One and Rio Tinto is so promising — it’s an example of the collaboration we need to develop a globally competitive supply chain that will position Canada as a leader in the global energy transition. By leveraging Canada’s wealth of critical minerals and our skilled workforce, we can create good jobs, spur clean growth and provide economic opportunity for communities across the country.

Jonathan WilkinsonMinister of Natural Resources, Canada

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