Home » Aterian and Rio Tinto Embark on Groundbreaking Lithium Exploration in Rwanda

Aterian and Rio Tinto Embark on Groundbreaking Lithium Exploration in Rwanda

Strategic Venture to Boost Renewable Energy Transition with Lithium Exploration

by Oluwatosin Alabi

In a move that could significantly impact the global renewable energy landscape, Aterian and Rio Tinto Mining and Exploration have embarked on a pioneering lithium exploration venture in Rwanda. This collaboration marks a critical step in the journey towards a sustainable energy future.

The venture, spearheaded by Aterian, sees Rio Tinto conducting promising field activities in Rwanda under the lithium-focused Earn-In Investment and Joint Venture Agreement. Aterian’s local subsidiary, Kinunga Mining, is instrumental in supporting Rio Tinto to set up a maiden drill program over the license area planned for 2024.

Sandy Walker, Programme Manager for Rio Tinto in Rwanda, expressed enthusiasm about the project: “We are thrilled to explore lithium in Rwanda and partner with Aterian through the Kinunga JV. The exploration activities are progressing safely, and we are eager to analyze the collected data. The Rwandan government’s support has been invaluable, and we look forward to our continued efforts in the country.”

Simon Rollason, CEO of Aterian, echoed this sentiment: “The progress since announcing our joint venture with Rio Tinto has been remarkable. We are generating encouraging preliminary data at the HCK site in southern Rwanda. Our gratitude goes to the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum, and Gas Board, and the regional and local governments for their support. This project is not only beneficial for Rwanda and its people but also crucial for Africa’s role in the energy transition.”

The activities managed and operated by Rio Tinto include comprehensive geological surface mapping across the license, focusing on gathering lithology and structural data. They have also engaged in community projects, notably planting 3,000 tree saplings. The reinterpretation of Aterian’s geochemical soil samples has identified new anomalies, setting the stage for more detailed sampling in 2024.

Additionally, a ground-based magnetic survey covering the entire license area was completed, revealing potential pegmatites concealed beneath the surface. This survey is a testament to the thorough and innovative approach adopted by the joint venture.

The HCK project, facilitated by Aterian’s partnership with HCK Mining Company Limited, covers a 2,750-hectare exploration license in southern Rwanda. The agreement with Rio Tinto allows for a significant investment of up to US$7.5 million in two stages to explore minerals crucial for the renewable energy transition. Rio Tinto’s commitment is a clear indication of the project’s potential and the company’s dedication to sustainable energy resources.

The venture between Aterian and Rio Tinto in Rwanda is more than just a mining project; it’s a strategic move towards a greener, more sustainable future. This lithium exploration endeavor not only promises economic growth for Rwanda but also contributes significantly to the global transition to renewable energy sources.

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