Rio Tinto has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Rincon lithium project in Argentina from Rincon Mining, a company owned by funds managed by the private equity group Sentient Equity Partners, for USD 825 million. Rincon is a large undeveloped lithium brine project located in the heart of the lithium triangle in the Salta Province of Argentina, an emerging hub for greenfield projects. The project is a long life, scaleable resource capable of producing battery grade lithium carbonate. It has the potential to have one of the lowest carbon footprints in the industry that can help deliver on Rio Tinto’s commitment to decarbonise its portfolio.The direct lithium extraction technology proposed for the project has the potential to significantly increase lithium recoveries as compared to solar evaporation ponds. A pilot plant is currently running at the site and further work will focus on continuing to optimise the process and recoveries.As the project is currently held through an Argentine branch of an Australian company, completion of the transaction is conditional upon approval by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. Subject to this FIRB approval, the transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.