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Wheels turning on Rio Tinto and BMW deal

Rio Tinto diamond

Rio Tinto has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BMW Group that will see responsible aluminium hit a vehicle production plant.   

The mining giant’s responsibly sourced aluminium will be provided to the US-based plant in a joint effort to lower carbon emissions in the push for net-zero. 

Rio’s low-carbon aluminium is sourced from its hydro-powered operations in Canada and is combined with recycled content.  

The new partnership will utilise ELYSIS for the production of BMW vehicles. ELYSIS is said to be the world’s first carbon-free aluminium smelting technology, instead emitting pure oxygen.  

ELYSIS is a joint venture company owned by Rio and Alcoa. 

The arrangement is expected lower BMW’s aluminium-related carbon emissions by up to 70 per cent. 

Integral to the partnership is Rio’s START initiative, which provides supply chain traceability concerning environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. 

“Rio Tinto is proud to play a role in helping to drive a greener future in the premium car industry through this partnership with the BMW Group,” Rio Tinto chief commercial officer Alf Barrios said.  

“We look forward to deepening our ties with the automotive industry in the years ahead.” 

BMW management board member Joachim Post said the company has “clear goals for lowering CO2 emissions in the supply chain”.   

“By using innovative materials, we can reduce our vehicles’ carbon footprint – even before handing them over to customers,” he said. 

“We want to lead the automotive industry by ramping up our use of aluminium with no direct CO2 emissions from the smelting process.” 

 Rio Tinto recently signed a similar agreement with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation, in a deal that is designed to see stronger and more responsible aluminium supply chains throughout Japan.  

Marubeni chief operating officer Daisuke Tsuchiya said the collaboration will help to decarbonise society by providing responsible aluminium to Marubeni’s broad interface of manufacturers. 

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