Rio Tinto partners with Asia to decarbonise steelmaking

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Rio Tinto has doubled down on its strategy to reduce carbon emissions by collaborating with Nippon Steel Corporation and China Baowu Steel Group to produce and supply low-carbon steel.

Rio Tinto, with Japan’s largest steel producer Nippon Steel will jointly develop technologies to transition to a low-carbon emissions steel value chain.

The two companies marked the start of their “long and deep trusting relationship” when Rio Tinto’s first shipment of iron ore from the Pilbara arrived in Japan in 1966.

Rio Tinto stated that Japan’s commitment to realise a carbon-neutral society by 2050 had given Japanese companies even greater impetus to accelerate their decarbonisation activities.

“One of Rio Tinto’s four pillars in addressing climate change is to partner with customers to reduce the carbon footprint across our value chain,” Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said.

“Nippon Steel has been an important partner for our business with a very long history and we are delighted to be able to extend our partnership to work together to reduce carbon emissions across the steel value chain.”

Nippon Steep president Eiji Hashimoto said that the company was pleased to start this partnership on the basis of their long trust.

“We are confident that it will be a powerful lever for our company to realise the ambitious vision of decarbonisation,” he said.

In China, Rio Tinto is set to invest $US10 million ($13 million) with the world’s largest steel producer China Baowu Steel Group over the next two years, to reduce emissions from China’s iron and steel making process.

This will go into establishing a research and development (R&D) centre, which will initially work to develop lower carbon ore preparation processes.

It will involve creating two ore preparation pilot plants, one to use biomass and the other exploring using microwave technology.

The investment will also support China Baowu’s work on carbon dioxide conversion at its innovation centre.

“We have been able to identify research and development projects which have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions associated with existing steelmaking processes, as well as developing technologies for the future of steelmaking to support the transition to a low-carbon economy,” Jacques said.

China Baowu chairman Chen Derong added: “To deal with global climate change and achieve green transformation through cooperation has become the consensus and common practices of the global steel value chain.

“It requires collective action of the steel enterprises, as well as upstream and downstream players.

“We highly appreciate Rio Tinto’s commitment to advancing a low-carbon future, and we hope to strengthen our partnership with Rio Tinto in contributing our joint efforts.”

Rio Tinto has axed its emissions footprint by over 30 per cent in the 10 years to 2020, and aims to reduce its carbon intensity by a further 30 per cent by 2030.

The company is working towards becoming a net zero emitter by 2050.

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