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Rio Tinto appoints new battery materials leader, Pilbara Minerals welcomes new chair

Rio Tinto has named Elias Scafidas as the new managing director of its battery materials division, effective early 2024, succeeding Marnie Finlayson, who recently concluded her tenure and is on extended leave. Finlayson played a pivotal role in forming the division two years ago and overseeing key projects like Rincon in Argentina and the Jadar project in Serbia. Scafidas, currently Rio’s chief financial officer in its copper business, has a strong track record in joint ventures and major mining projects.

On the other hand, Pilbara Minerals bid farewell to Tony Kiernan, who served as its chair for seven years, and welcomed Kathleen Conlon as the new chair of the board. Kiernan’s leadership saw Pilbara Minerals through the lithium market downturn and led to several key achievements, including securing funding, completing construction, and achieving production at the Pilgangoora lithium operation. Conlon, who brings critical minerals industry experience, looks forward to supporting Pilbara Minerals’ continued growth and development.

Amidst these changes, Pilbara Minerals is seeing positive signs in the lithium market, with its shares rising 14% in the past five days. Despite challenges, it remains well-positioned in the sector, now backed by AustralianSuper’s 5% stake.

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