At the FT Mining Summit in London, Rio Tinto Chair, Dominic Barton, broached the idea of partnerships with sovereign nations and smaller firms to develop small-scale mining projects. This approach, although now aimed at securing supplies of critical minerals like copper and lithium for green energy, harkens back to strategies from the 1980s. During that era, the focus was on gold deposits, and the idea was to tap into smaller mines to exploit modest deposits.
Barton’s revived perspective acknowledges the diminishing prospects of discovering vast deposits. While these smaller sites might often be overlooked by major mining conglomerates, they hold potential when combined. By partnering with smaller companies, they can collaboratively explore and harness these deposits, funneling the ore to feed their larger processing plants. The synergy of several smaller deposits can effectively supply the raw materials needed for a significant concentrator.