Rio Tinto and Volvo in low-carbon partnership

Rio Tinto and Volvo Group have created a strategic partnership in which Rio will supply responsibly sourced low-carbon products and solutions to Volvo.

The companies will also work towards decarbonising Rio Tinto’s operations through piloting Volvo’s sustainable autonomous hauling solutions.

The multi-materials partnership will allow Rio Tinto to progress sustainability commitments in its operations and supply chains. It will support Volvo, one of the world’s largest transport and infrastructure providers, in its ambition towards a net-zero future. The partnership aims to secure supplies of materials including lithium, low-carbon aluminium, copper, and metallics.

The companies will work together to strengthen the supply of responsibly sourced low-carbon materials such as RenewAl aluminium, aluminium produced using the ELYSIS zero-carbon smelting technology, Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI)-certified aluminium and Copper Mark-certified copper, and explore product development opportunities such as the supply of lithium for batteries.

The autonomous hauling solution offered by Volvo Autonomous Solutions (VAS) is based on Transport as a Service (TaaS) and includes a vehicle purpose-built for autonomous driving, a virtual driver, required infrastructure, operations and uptime support as well as a cloud solution that controls the transport system and manages logistics flows.

The solutions developed by VAS are tailor-made for each customers’ needs and intended to make their operations more safe, productive and sustainable.

RenewAl is the world’s first certified low CO2 primary aluminium brand, released by Rio in 2016. It has helped to pioneer responsible production standards for the global industry as a founding member of the ASI, becoming the first producer to offer ASI aluminium in 2018.

ELYSIS is a technology company created through a partnership between Rio and Alcoa, with support from Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec. ELYSIS is scaling up a revolutionary technology that enables the production of metal without direct carbon dioxide emissions during the aluminium smelting process, instead emitting pure oxygen.

The technology uses inert anodes to replace the carbon anodes traditionally used during electrolysis, the process used to make primary aluminium.

In 2020, Rio Tinto’s Kennecott and Oyu Tolgoi operations became the first producers to be awarded the Copper Mark, the copper industry’s independent responsible production program. To achieve the Copper Mark – developed according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – Kennecott’s and Oyu Tolgoi’s copper was assessed against 32 criteria.


Editor of industrial titles and mastheads with Prime Creative Media. Publications include Rail Express and Australian Mining (web content).
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