22/07/2022 - 15:47

Rio, BHP ink Ford partnerships

22/07/2022 - 15:47

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Two of Australia’s biggest miners have lined up deals to supply battery materials, starting with lithium and nickel, for Ford Motor Company.

Rio, BHP ink Ford partnerships
The deal could see BHP supply Ford nickel from its Nickel West operations. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Two of Australia’s biggest miners have lined up deals to supply battery materials, starting with lithium and nickel, for Ford Motor Company.

Rio Tinto and BHP separately announced that they had signed memorandums of understanding with the global automaker earlier this week, following in the footsteps of local lithium aspirant Liontown Resources.

Liontown inked an offtake deal for spodumene concentrate from its Kathleen Valley lithium project, and a $300 million debt facility with Ford last month, adding to its arrangements with Tesla and LG Energy Solution.

BHP’s MoU with Ford will see the miner potentially supply nickel from its Nickel West operations from 2025 and could extend to further commodities.

“Sustainable, reliable production of quality nickel will be essential to meeting demand from automakers like Ford Motor Company who are focused on producing their vehicles in an increasingly sustainable way,” BHP chief commercial officer Vandita Pant said.

The arrangement with Rio could also see Ford become a foundational offtake partner for product from its Rincon lithium project in Argentina.

The ASX-lister bought the undeveloped lithium brine project from Rincon mining for $825 million in March 2022.

Rio chief commercial officer Alf Barrios said the company was excited to work with Ford.

Rio Tinto is uniquely positioned to work with companies like Ford to develop more sustainable, traceable and secure supply chains.

Rio Tinto shares were up 0.45 per cent to trade at $96.26.

BHP shares closed the day off 0.11 per cent at $36.75.

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