The semiconductor company 5N Plus announced on Wednesday that it had reached a commercial agreement with the multinational Rio Tinto for the refining of tellurium, a critical and strategic mineral for the economy and national security.
The ore that will be produced at the Kennecott copper mine in Utah will be refined and processed by 5N Plus in Montreal and will be used mainly for the manufacture of photovoltaic modules by the American company First Solar.
Tellurium will also be used to make semiconductor substrates at 5N Plus' plant in St. George, Utah, according to the company, which reports on a 2007 contract to supply First Solar with semiconductor materials.
"Through our new partnership with Rio Tinto, we will be able to accelerate our semiconductor development and manufacturing activities in North America," said Gervais Jacques, President and CEO of 5N Plus, in a statement.
“Our investment in the expansion of our Montreal facilities will allow us to refine an additional quantity of tellurium for applications in the renewable energy sector,” added Mr. Jacques.
"This agreement with 5N Plus is an important step in establishing a sustainable North American supply chain of critical minerals to support the clean energy transition," said Clayton Walker, Rio's Chief Operating Officer. Tinto Copper.