Tag Archives: Alf Barrios

Komatsu teams with Rio, BHP, Codelco and Boliden on zero-emission mining solutions

Working together to rapidly innovate in support of carbon reduction targets, Komatsu has teamed up with several of its customers to form the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Alliance.

The founding members of the alliance are Rio Tinto, BHP, Codelco and Boliden.

Through the alliance framework, Komatsu’s GHG partners will work directly with Komatsu to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure, the OEM said. The alliance’s initial target is advancing Komatsu’s power-agnostic truck concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources including diesel-electric, electric, trolley (wired), battery power and even hydrogen fuel cells.

“We are honoured that our customers, several of the largest mining companies in the world, have agreed to participate in the Komatsu GHG Alliance and work in partnership with us to develop sustainable solutions for mining,” Masayuki Moriyama, President of Komatsu’s Mining Business Division, said. “We look forward to close collaboration with these industry leaders to accelerate development and deployment of the next level of equipment designed to reduce greenhouse gases from mining operations and ultimately achieve the goal of zero-emission mining.”

The formation of the alliance brings together mining leaders willing to share time, resources and information to deliver zero-emissions equipment solutions, Komatsu said. The company intends to expand the alliance to additional mining companies to enhance industry-wide collaboration on solutions to decarbonisation.

In a separate release, Rio Tinto said it will conduct a pre-production trial of the new equipment at a site and has the option to purchase some of the first trucks from Komatsu once they are commercially viable.

Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Rio Tinto and Komatsu have a shared history of partnership on innovation going back to when we built the world’s largest Komatsu autonomous haulage fleet in 2008.

“Our support of a trial, and the option to buy some of the first trucks from Komatsu, underscores our shared commitment to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure as we look to decarbonise our business.”

As a company, Komatsu, meanwhile, says it is committed to minimising environmental impact through its business, targeting a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from use of its products and production of its equipment by 2030 (compared with 2010 levels) and a challenge target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Komatsu has worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for customers through product development for decades in many areas including electric diesel dump trucks, electric power shovels, regenerative energy storage capabilities and fuel saver programs, it said.

The company’s initial concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources, part of the power-agnostic development, is set to make its official debut at MINExpo 2021 on September 13-15 in Las Vegas, USA.

Rio and POSCO look to combine iron ore processing and steel-making technologies

Rio Tinto and POSCO, the largest steel producer in South Korea and one of the world’s leading steel producers, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly explore, develop and demonstrate technologies to transition to a low-carbon emission steel value chain.

The partnership will explore a range of technologies for decarbonisation across the entire steel value chain from iron ore mining to steelmaking, including integrating Rio Tinto’s iron ore processing technology and POSCO’s steel-making technology.

The MoU with POSCO underlines Rio Tinto’s commitment to working in partnerships with customers on steel decarbonisation pathways and to invest in technologies that could deliver reductions in steelmaking carbon intensity of at least 30% from 2030 or with potential to deliver carbon-neutral steelmaking pathways by 2050, the company said. Both Rio Tinto and POSCO share the ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it added.

Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios, said: “This partnership with POSCO, a valued and long-standing customer, demonstrates our combined commitment to working together to identify ways to reduce emissions across the steel-making process. The agreement also complements Rio Tinto‘s partnerships with other customers as the industry focusses on developing technologies that support the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

POSCO’s Head of Steel Business Unit, Hag-Dong Kim, said: “Tackling climate change is a critical item in achieving sustainable development for a better future. On the journey to achieving carbon neutrality with Rio Tinto, we can play an important role of finding a way to build a low-carbon steel industry”

Rio Tinto and Schneider Electric partner on decarbonisation initiatives

Rio Tinto and Schneider Electric have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a “first-of-its-kind” collaboration to develop a circular and sustainable market ecosystem for both companies and their customers.

This multi-product partnership will see Schneider Electric use responsibly-sourced materials produced by Rio Tinto. These include low-carbon aluminium and copper produced with renewable power, iron ore and borates. Rio Tinto will, in turn, use energy and industrial services from Schneider Electric, as the companies work together to develop digital platforms, technologies and solutions to be deployed across the metals and mining supply chain to drive further decarbonisation, they said.

Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios, said: “This unique partnership will help accelerate decarbonisation and renewable energy solutions by combining low-carbon materials with cutting-edge digital technology. Working together will allow Rio Tinto and Schneider Electric to pursue opportunities beyond what is possible for either company on its own.

“This collaboration also opens doors to consider strategic initiatives such as expanding the use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to reduce downtime in our plants, digitisation of our supply chains, and a host of other transformative technologies.”

Schneider Electric Executive Vice-President Industrial Automation, Barbara Frei, said: “We are excited to work with Rio Tinto to develop clean and pioneering solutions to meet industrial decarbonisation challenges. As the world’s most sustainable corporation and a manufacturer with a global network of smart factories and smart distribution centres, Schneider Electric is on a mission to make industries of the future eco-efficient, agile, and resilient through open, software-centric industrial automation and sustainable energy solutions. This new partnership demonstrates that Rio Tinto is as passionate as we are about bridging progress and sustainability for all.”

The partnership will draw on Schneider Electric’s Energy as a Service expertise to evaluate the use of innovative solutions, including microgrids, to supply energy from low-carbon sources, and artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to help meet sustainability goals at Rio Tinto sites and throughout its supply chain.

Rio Tinto’s START traceability and transparency initiative, the first sustainability label for aluminium using blockchain technology, will be deployed with Schneider Electric to unlock value for customers, suppliers and partners, it said. The companies will work to expand this transparency, offering START in combination with Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure™ platform, an IoT system architecture that connects everything in an enterprise to deliver enhanced safety, reliability, efficiency and sustainability.

The companies will also partner to evaluate emerging innovation opportunities, such as the efficient production of critical materials for renewable technologies and advances in low-carbon, green steel manufacturing, both of which will play a significant long-term role in industrial decarbonisation.

Electricity agreement sparks new life into Tiwai Point aluminum smelter

Rio Tinto has reached agreement on a new electricity contract with Meridian Energy that allows New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter until December 31, 2024.

The extension provides certainty to employees, the local community and customers while providing more time for all stakeholders to plan for the future, Rio said.

While discussions with the New Zealand government are progressing in relation to its commitment to address the smelter’s high transmission costs, a new agreement has been reached with Meridian Energy in relation to power prices, making the smelter economically viable and competitive over the next four years, according to the miner.

The extension also provides time for detailed closure studies to be completed and for NZAS to support the government and Southland community in planning for the future.

“Plans for eventual closure of the Tiwai Point smelter will include extensive stakeholder consultation, including within the Southland community, and reflect the company’s robust closure and remediation standards,” the company said.

Rio Tinto Aluminium Chief Executive, Alf Barrios, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Meridian Energy that will enable the Tiwai Point smelter to continue producing some of the lowest carbon aluminium in the world. This agreement improves Tiwai Point’s competitive position and secures the extension of operation to December 2024. It also provides Rio Tinto, the New Zealand government, Meridian, and the Southland community more time to plan for the future and importantly gives our hard-working team at Tiwai and our customers the certainty they deserve.”

In July 2020, Rio announced the conclusion of a strategic review of the smelter and a decision to wind down operations by August 2021 due to high energy and transmission costs.

NZAS is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (79.36%) and Sumitomo Chemical Company Ltd (20.64%). It employs around 1,000 people directly and creates a further 1,600 indirect jobs in Southland, according to Rio.

Rio Tinto’s debut Amrun bauxite shipment sets sail

Rio Tinto has completed the first shipment of bauxite from its Amrun mine in Queensland, Australia, six weeks ahead of schedule.

At a ceremony on the Western Cape York Peninsula in the far north of Queensland, more than 80,000 t of bauxite was loaded on to the RTM Weipa bound for Rio’s Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone.

The US$1.9 billion (A$2.6 billion) investment in Amrun is aimed at replacing production from the depleting East Weipa mine and increasing annual bauxite exports by around 10 Mt. Amrun is expected to reach a full production rate of 22.8 Mt/y during 2019.

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said: “Bringing Amrun online further strengthens our position as a leading supplier in the seaborne market. We have the largest bauxite resources in the industry and are geographically well positioned to supply China’s significant future import needs, as well as supporting our refinery and smelting operations in Australia and New Zealand.”

The mining major was able to bring Amrun in ahead of schedule thanks, in part, to an innovation in design and fabrication of key infrastructure purpose-built for construction at Amrun’s remote location, according to Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation Group Executive Stephen McIntosh.

This included design and fabrication of the wharf on the Western Cape York Peninsula, which was constructed over water in essentially 13 pieces.

During construction, the Amrun development set a benchmark in supporting local and regional suppliers with US$1.6 billion invested with Australian companies, including $181 million with local Cape York companies, Rio said.