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Rio Tinto ‘not afraid’ of M&A, says Stausholm

Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm

Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm

16th May 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Amid heightened discussions surrounding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the mining sector, Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm has reaffirmed the company’s readiness to pursue such ventures. However, he underscored the necessity for a carefully considered approach.  

Addressing queries regarding the company’s stance on M&A at this week’s Bank of America global metals, mining and steel conference, in Miami, Stausholm asserted, “We are not afraid of M&A.”

However, he highlighted that Rio Tinto’s growth strategy was not contingent solely upon M&A activities. Instead, he accentuated the robustness of the group’s organic growth options and its enhanced project execution capabilities.

“It’s really a pleasure for me to see how we execute projects now versus how we used to. That means that it’s not a need, it’s a choice,” he said.

Stausholm pointed to the smaller deals that Rio Tinto has done in recent years, including the acquisition of the Rincon lithium project, in Argentina, noting that these transactions have not derailed the overall transformation of the company.

While Rio Tinto was open to exploring M&A opportunities, the CEO cautioned against the potential risks associated with larger-scale transactions.

Responding to a question regarding Rio Tinto’s stance on the lithium market, Stausholm said that the company was confident that demand for lithium would continue to increase, particularly in battery technology.

He highlighted the importance of adopting environmentally and social responsible practices in lithium extraction.

“We are really learning a lot right now in developing the Rincon project in how we get the winning ESG solutions for lithium extraction. Because lithium can be done in quite a bad way. I do believe it can also be done in a very elegant way, in a very neat way,” said Stausholm.

Rio Tinto is willing to evaluate opportunities based on market dynamics and strategic alignment, he said, adding that the company could contribute its technical expertise and operational capabilities to drive advancements in the sector.

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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