Rio Tinto, CR Minerals to produce pozzolans from mine waste to decarbonize cement

Rio Tinto’s Boron mine in California. Image from Rio Tinto.

CR Minerals announced Tuesday an agreement with Rio Tinto (NYSE, ASX: RIO) on the production of pozzolans from waste materials at the US Borax facility in Boron, California.

The company said it intends to use waste tailings present onsite to produce pozzolans that can be used as a cement replacement in concrete. The pozzolans will be manufactured at a new facility to be constructed by CR Minerals on Rio Tinto’s property.

Rio has had operations in Boron for nearly a century, mining and manufacturing products used in fertilizers, but it is also in other industries such as glass manufacturing, wood protection and insulation fiberglass. 

“We have been working with Rio Tinto for several years now to bring this concept to life,” president of CR Minerals, Jeffrey Whidden, said in the statement. “Taking what was once considered waste streams and turning them into usable products for the construction materials industry is part of the vision of our company.

“Manufacturing a low carbon alternative to cement will be an exciting venture in the state of California that prides itself on being at the forefront of effecting positive environmental change,” Whidden said.

“Rio Tinto continues to demonstrate its leadership in the mining industry through this agreement,” added Renny Dillinger, Rio Tinto’s general manager for US Borax.

“Our commitment to the environment and leaving a lasting, positive legacy is fundamental to our sustainability goals. Finding new uses for our waste streams and by-products such as this is a key component to our goal of decarbonization and also to achieving a circular economy.”