Battery materials company Nano One and Rio Tinto have agreed to enter into a strategic partnership, with Rio Tinto providing iron and lithium products, collaboration and a US$10-million investment into Nano One. This partnership and funding will accelerate Nano One’s multi-cathode (multi-CAM) commercialization strategy and support cathode active materials (CAM) manufacturing in Canada for a cleaner and more efficient battery supply chain for North American and overseas markets.
Dan Blondal, CEO of Nano One, states: “The global transition to a low-carbon electrified economy will require millions of tonnes of battery materials, so it is critically important to produce these materials efficiently and with the lowest environmental footprint. Rio Tinto’s partnership and support complement our recent announcement to acquire Johnson Matthey’s LFP business in the nearby community of Candiac, Québec 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 deep experience in high volume production and technology commercialization, 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.”
Nano One’s patented One Pot Process and metal to cathode active material (M2CAM) technologies form a novel manufacturing platform that enables nickel-rich (NMC), iron-rich (LFP) and manganese-rich (LNMO) lithium-ion cathode active materials 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 has made a strategic equity investment into Nano One for gross proceeds of US$10 million, equivalent to C$12,536,500. On closing, Nano One will issue a total of 4,643,148 common shares, approximately 4.9% of the current issued and outstanding shares of Nano One, at C$2.70 per share in a non-brokered private placement. This investment will be directed towards technology and supply chain development, commercialization, Nano One’s acquisition of the Candiac facility in Québec (announced 25 May 2022 pending completion), its 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 financings to maintain pro rata ownership interest for a period of five years from the date of closing; a lock up on securities dispositions and a standstill for a period of 12 months from the date of closing, subject to certain exemptions.
Rio Tinto and Nano One will on closing, 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 facility in Sorel-Tracy, Québec, as feedstock for the production of Nano One’s cathode materials.
Rio Tinto will contribute know-how from its Critical Minerals and Technology Center, which has developed a unique expertise in the extraction and processing of critical minerals such as lithium and scandium, as well as minerals from Canada, the United States, and other international sources to further drive localization of the lithium ion battery value chain.
Rio Tinto will collaborate on technical and business matters as may be required in developing, designing, constructing and operating cathode production facilities. Nano One will issue to Rio Tinto 1,000,000 non-transferrable Share purchase warrants (a “Warrant”) as consideration for their technical and support services. Each Warrant shall 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 issuance.