Major miners set sail for iron ore green corridor

Port Hedland

Rio Tinto and BHP, as part of a consortium led by the Global Maritime Forum, have signed a letter of intent to assess the development of an iron ore Green Corridor between Australia and East Asia.

To mobilise demand for green shipping and to scale zero- or near-zero greenhouse gas emission shipping, governments and industry decision-makers are increasingly looking to enable and simplify the task of decarbonising the maritime sector by establishing Green Corridors.

Green Corridors are specific shipping routes where the economics, infrastructure and logistics of zero- or near-zero emission shipping are more feasible, and rapid deployment can be supported by targeted policy and industry action.

“As a leading charterer, we recognise we have an important role to play in the decarbonisation of our own shipping and the broader industry,” Rio Tinto’s head of commercial operations Laure Baratgin said.

“This collaboration is another important step towards accelerating the delivery of our climate commitments on shipping, as part of Rio Tinto’s broader goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 and a 50 per cent reduction by 2030 and supports efforts in providing our customers and partners with sustainable value-chain solutions.”

Last year, the Getting to Zero Coalition report The Next Wave demonstrated how Green Corridors can be conceived, prioritised, and designed with a pre-feasibility study for an iron ore route between Australia and East Asia.

The study suggested that green ammonia is the likely fuel choice for this corridor based on favourable production conditions, an enabling regulatory environment and willing stakeholders.

Taking the study further, the parties in the consortium intend to jointly assess green ammonia supply, bunkering and first mover support mechanisms, necessary for their participation in a viable Australia to East Asia iron ore Green Corridor.

“BHP’s membership of this Green Corridor consortium is testament to the importance we place on targeted exploration and partnerships in identifying pathways to decarbonisation for the maritime sector,” BHP vice president of maritime and supply chain excellence Rashpal Bhatti said.

“As one of the largest bulk charterers in the world, we recognise this opportunity and have announced a number of partnerships across our value chain to seek to accelerate the process.”

Global Maritime Forum chief executive officer Johannah Christensen said zero-greenhouse gas emission pathways require the creation of a parallel value chain that involves new ways of working, new contractual relationships, and drives the development of decarbonised fuel production and infrastructure.

“This new iron ore green corridor collaboration is an important step towards enabling zero- or near-zero greenhouse gas emission shipping from both the supply and demand side,” Christensen said.

Through the work in the consortium and with inputs from the wider supply chain, the partners aim to develop a framework as a preparatory step towards real-world implementation of a green iron ore shipping value chain.

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