Rio Tinto and Ford Motor have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly develop more sustainable and secure supply chains for battery and low-carbon materials to be used in Ford vehicles.
The multi-materials partnership will support the transition toward a net-zero future by supplying automaker Ford with materials including lithium, low-carbon aluminium and copper. It will allow mining and metals group Rio Tinto to progress its commitment to work with customers to decarbonize value chains.
Collaboration to strengthen supply of low-carbon aluminium
Under the agreement, Ford will explore becoming the foundation customer for Rio Tinto’s Rincon lithium project in Argentina. Rio Tinto is currently progressing detailed planning to bring Rincon into production and will work with Ford toward a significant lithium off-take agreement to support its production of electric vehicles.
The companies will work together to strengthen the supply of low-carbon aluminium for use in Ford vehicles, including metal produced using the zero carbon Elysis smelting technology and from Rio Tinto’s hydro-powered operations in Canada, helping Ford meet its commitment to the First Mover’s Coalition. Ford and Rio Tinto will also work to develop secure, domestic supply chains for Ford across other essential commodities for the energy transition from Rio Tinto’s operations in North America, including copper produced with a low-carbon footprint.
Focus on Ford’s electric trucks
The MOU builds on Ford’s relationship with Rio Tinto as a primary aluminium raw material source for its iconic F-150, the world’s first all-aluminium body pick-up truck. The high-strength aluminium alloys used in the F-150 truck help improve performance and save weight, helping it to tow heavier loads, accelerate quicker and reduce stopping distances. Now, the companies will work together exploring what’s possible in the energy transition with models like Ford’s next-generational full-size electric truck.
Rio Tinto’s chief commercial officer, Alf Barrios, said: “Rio Tinto is uniquely positioned to work with companies like Ford to develop more sustainable, traceable and secure supply chains. We are investing to grow in materials needed for the energy transition, and in technology and partnerships to decarbonize our business and value chains. We welcome the opportunity to strengthen our long-term relationship with Ford to support its sustainability goals.”