Rio Tinto sets sights on replacement mines for sustainable future

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is chasing more ambitious sustainability targets, announcing it is now aiming to reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 – more than tripling its previous goal.

It comes as the major miner unveiled a longer-term strategy to ensure it continues to thrive and expand in a decarbonising world underlined by greater determination and innovation.

Rio Tinto will aim to reduce its emissions by 15 per cent by 2025, five years earlier than previously, with $7.5 billion to be invested into its decarbonisation cause between 2022 and 2030.

This forms part of an overall capital guidance of $7.5 billion in 2021 (unchanged), $8 billion in 2022 (previously $7.5 billion), while Rio Tinto has set its sights on spending between $9 billion and $10 billion per year in 2023 and 2024.

“Rio Tinto is taking action to strengthen our business and improve our performance by unleashing the full potential of our people and assets, working in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders,” Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm said of his company’s renewed goals.

“All our commodities are vital for the energy transition and continue to benefit from ongoing urbanisation. We have a clear pathway to decarbonise our business and are actively developing technologies that will enable our customers and our customers’ customers to decarbonise.”

In its continued pursuit for net-zero, Rio Tinto will ramp up its investment in research and development (R&D), with its carbon-free aluminium technology ELYSIS, a joint venture with Alcoa, at the forefront.

Rio Tinto is aiming to increase the capacity of its Pilbara iron ore system to between 345 million and 360 million tonnes per year in the mid-term (on a 100 per cent basis).

This will involve completions of the next tranche of new and replacement mines including Western Range, Bedded Hill Top and Hope Downs 2, and Brockman Syncline to reach and sustain capacity.

Rio Tinto expects these mines to start commissioning from 2025. In order to reach and sustain the upper end of the production target, the next tranche of replacement mines will need to be due between 2025 and 2027.

The major miner is aiming for the full electrification of its Pilbara system, spanning trucks, mobile equipment and rail operations.

To assist in this, Rio Tinto will target the rapid deployment of one gigawatt of wind and solar power. This would abate around one million tonnes of CO2, replace natural gas power for plant and infrastructure, and support early electrification of mining equipment.

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