Tag Archives: aluminium

Metso Outotec completes divestment of aluminium business to REEL International

Metso Outotec has completed the divestment of its aluminium business to REEL International, headquartered in France.

The divestment to REEL was announced on December 28, with the divested business comprising equipment and plant solutions to green anode plants, anode rodshops, and casthouses used in aluminium smelters, as well as the related services.

Metso Outotec will continue to serve its customers in certain other parts of the aluminium value chain, such as alumina refinery and petroleum coke calcination technologies, it said.

Jari Ålgars, President of Metals business area, Metso Outotec, said: “I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the Aluminium team for its contribution to Metso Outotec and for the hard work to ensure a smooth transfer of the business. I wish the team great success under its new ownership at REEL.”

Rio Tinto to establish high-quality scandium oxide production in Canada

Rio Tinto says it will become the first producer of high-quality scandium oxide in North America, with construction of a new commercial scale demonstration plant underway at its Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, Canada.

RTFT expects to begin commercial supply of scandium oxide in the June quarter of 2021. With its existing aluminium business, Rio says it is also well positioned to produce aluminium-scandium alloys to meet customer’s needs.

The company is investing $6 million for the construction of a first module in the plant, with an initial capacity to produce 3 t/y of scandium oxide, or approximately 20% of the current global market. The Government of Quebec is contributing around $650,000 to the project through the Quebec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals. The new plant will have the ability to add further modules in line with market demand, Rio says.

RTFT developed a process it has proven at pilot scale to extract high-purity scandium oxide from the waste streams of titanium dioxide production, without the need for any additional mining at its ilmenite mine in Havre-Saint-Pierre, Quebec.

Scandium oxide is used to improve the performance of solid oxide fuel cells, which are used as a power source for data centres and hospitals, as well as in niche products such as lasers and lighting for stadiums or studios. It is also used to produce high-performance aluminium-scandium master alloys for the aerospace, defence and 3D printing industries, according to Rio.

Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium Managing Director, Stéphane Leblanc, said: “We are proud to offer North America’s first reliable supply of scandium oxide using an innovative and sustainable process, with the construction of this new plant. Rio Tinto has been engaged in the exploration and production of rare earths and critical minerals globally for a number of years, to meet the demand in new and emerging technologies. With the support of Rio Tinto’s aluminium business, we are uniquely positioned to deliver aluminium-scandium master alloys and develop synergies with North America’s manufacturing supply chain.”

Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonatan Julien, said: “RTFT’s scandium oxide valorisation project is a concrete example of how we can extract value from our mining wastes. It demonstrates our ability to innovate and seize business opportunities in a growing market as we strive to ensure secure supplies of critical minerals. This business has the potential to become a major scandium supplier outside China.”

Both the high-quality scandium oxide and aluminium-scandium master alloy will be commercialised under the business brand name Element North 21.

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.

Metso Outotec books zinc plant order as it agrees sale of aluminium business

Metso Outotec has signed a contract to deliver a complete package of key process equipment for a greenfield zinc plant in the Chelyabinsk region in Russia.

The contract value of approximately €100 million ($122 million) has been booked in Metso Outotec’s Decemeber quarter order intake, a quarter of which will be booked in Minerals segment and the rest in Metals segment.

The order for the Verkhny Ufaley plant includes an equipment package for zinc concentrate processing, iron precipitation, solution purification and electrowinning (EW) technologies for safe and sustainable zinc processing based on OKTOP® reactor and plant products.

The order also contains a circuit heat recovery system, zinc EW and ingot casting equipment, as well as high-efficiency cooling towers for zinc EW and gypsum removal with drastically reduced emissions compared with conventionally-designed cooling towers, the company said. Clarifying solutions for consistent solid-liquid separation, high-performance Larox® FP and RB filters with low energy consumption, as well as fully integrated digital process automation for more reliable and flexible operation are also part of the order.

“Metso Outotec has been supplying minerals processing and metals refining technologies to our customers in Russia for a long time,” Jari Ålgars, President, Metals business area at Metso Outotec, said. “The new zinc plant will utilise Metso Outotec’s proprietary technology, which is both sustainable and highly cost effective.”

Stephan Kirsch, President of the Minerals business area at Metso Outotec, added: “Metso Outotec provides leading-edge technology for extensive zinc processing plants. This includes proprietary process equipment and know-how from raw material to final zinc product and various by-products.”

The technology to be delivered is the most cost-efficient technology available for zinc raw material processing, enabling efficient zinc and by-product recovery from a wide range of primary zinc raw material, according to Metso Outotec.

In a separate press release, Metso Outotec announced it had agreed to sell its Aluminium business to REEL International, headquartered in France. The business was put up for sale a year ago and has since been reported under the company’s discontinued operations.

The business to be divested comprises of green anode plants, anode rodshops, and casthouses used in aluminium smelters as well as related equipment and services. Approximately 120 Metso Outotec employees will join REEL upon closing, which is expected to take place during the March quarter of 2021, Metso Outotec said.

The parties have agreed not to disclose the value of the transaction.

Hindalco achieves aluminium industry first with red mud utilisation

Hindalco Industries has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UltraTech Cement, India’s largest manufacturer of cement and concrete, to deliver 1.2 Mt/y of red mud to UltraTech’s 14 plants located across seven states. This agreement will see Hindalco become the world’s first company to achieve 100% red mud utilisation across three of its refineries, it says.

Red mud generated in the alumina manufacturing process is rich in iron oxides, along with alumina, silica and alkali, with the cement industry, Hindalco says, having developed the capability to process red mud as a replacement for mined minerals such as laterite and lithomarge in its process.

Hindalco is supplying red mud to UltraTech Cement plants where it has proved to be an effective substitute for mined materials, successfully replacing up to 3% of clinker raw mix volume, according to the company.

“Use of red mud reduces the cement industry’s dependence on natural resources and promotes a circular economy,” Hindalco said.

Hindalco’s alumina refineries are currently supplying 250,000 t/mth of bauxite residue to cement companies, making Hindalco the world’s first company to have enabled such large scale commercial application of bauxite residue. In the current year, Hindalco aims to achieve 2.5 Mt of bauxite residue utilisation, which will be another global milestone, it says.

Satish Pai, Managing Director of Hindalco, said: “Hindalco has been working with cement companies to develop high-grade inputs for the construction industry. Hindalco has built a strong customer base and supplies red mud to over 40 cement plants every month. We have achieved 100% red mud utilisation at three of our refineries and our vision is to achieve zero-waste alumina production across our operations. Hindalco’s actions underscore our commitment to embracing solutions that have the potential to deliver long-term sustainability impact and transform the future.”

Globally, 160 Mt of red mud is produced annually and stored in large tracts of land which is a serious industry challenge, Hindalco says. To find a sustainable solution, Hindalco has invested in infrastructure and collaborated with cement companies, with UltraTech Cement being a key partner.

KC Jhanwar, Managing Director of UltraTech Cement, said: “UltraTech has been among the early adopters in India on the use of alternative raw materials and fuels in manufacturing and invested to build storage, handling and processing facilities. Use of waste like red mud as an alternative raw material for manufacturing cement requires infrastructure and process modification to ensure a win-win for both business and the environment.”

Last year, UltraTech consumed about 15.73 Mt of industrial waste as alternate raw material and about 300,000 t as alternative fuel in its kilns.

Jhanwar added: “With an annual supply of 1.2 Mt of red mud from Hindalco, we expect to conserve more than 1 Mt of mined natural resources like laterite in our manufacturing process. Enhancing our contribution to the circular economy by strategically increasing the use of waste as raw material and fuel in the cement manufacturing process is in line with our aim to achieve our long-term sustainability goals.”

Enerpac and Cooper Fluid Systems aid dragline maintenance at coal mine

Enerpac and Copper Fluid Systems (CFS) have come to the rescue of a Queensland coal miner looking for a way to safely and efficiently carry out maintenance on its dragline.

The hydraulics leader, in tandem with Queensland distributor CFS, devised a solution that incorporated its RACH306 lightweight aluminium cylinders. This allowed operators to get out on the boom to provide essential maintenance.

Such a system requires special tools offering a combination of high power, light weight, compact size and reliability, Enerpac said. This is where the RACH306 cylinders provided a lightweight solution for tensioning the intermediate boom suspension on the dragline, ensuring it continued to operate without causing excess wear on the main frame.

With a total weight of around 11 kg each, the aluminium cylinders are roughly half the weight of their steel counterparts and provide the same power, with a capacity of 30 t, the company said.

CFS Queensland Regional Manager, Mark Lorber, said: “The lighter weight makes a significant difference to the safety and comfort of maintenance personnel, as the only way to get the tools up on the dragline is to individually transport them out on the boom and spend time precisely positioning them there.

“The Enerpac gear is used to tension the intermediate boom suspension ropes by sliding over threaded rods with 30 mm studs at each of the adjustment points. Hollow cylinders are used because they can slide over the top of the stud. The Enerpac RACH cylinders provide a 6 in (150 mm) stroke with smooth, reliable performance.”

Tensioning these suspension ropes on draglines is an essential maintenance task for mining operations, according to Lorber. A slack or loose rope can cause additional stress, or even cracking on the main frame – especially when digging, he said.

Lorber added: “With draglines typically costing in excess of A$100 million ($64 million), regular preventative maintenance is a vital part of minimising downtime and avoiding unexpected costs. The major advantages of using Enerpac tools in this application are the quality of a market-leading brand, coupled with service support on-site.”

CFS custom designs dragline tensioning system boxes, with each box containing four Enerpac P80 hand pumps, four Enerpac RACH306 aluminium hollow plunger cylinders and MDG41-compliant hydraulic pressure hoses. Four boxes are used in total for each dragline machine, where they are mounted on each boom.

The tensioning system boxes are designed to be weatherproof and protect the hydraulics against dust, which is highly prevalent on open-pit coal mining operations. Additionally, the boxes have a separate shelf for the pump so that it is further protected from dirt, grease and other contaminants, the company said.

Enerpac’s RACH-Series cylinders, with strokes from 50-250 mm, weigh from just 5.2-9 kg for the 20 t models through to a maximum of 48.9-77.2 kg for the range-topping 150 t models. The cylinders are comprised of composite bearings on all moving surfaces to prevent metal-to-metal contact, resist side loads and extend cylinder life.

Complementing the RACH-Series cylinders are Enerpac’s lightweight hand pumps, models P-392 or P-802, which are constructed of composite materials including aluminium to comprise the optimum lightweight pump and cylinder set, according to the company. The cylinders can also be powered by fast-acting Enerpac electric, air and petrol pumps.

Features of the full RAC range include:

  • Hollow plunger design allows for both pull and push forces;
  • Composite bearings increase cylinder life and sideload resistance;
  • Hard-Coat finish on all surfaces resists damage and extends cylinder life;
  • Floating centre tube increases seal and product life;
  • Handles standard on all models;
  • Steel base plate and saddle for protection against load-induced damage;
  • Integral stop ring prevents plunger over-travel and is capable of withstanding the full cylinder capacity;
  • High strength return spring for rapid cylinder retraction;
  • CR-400 coupler and dustcap included on all models; and
  • All cylinders meet ASME B-30.1 and ISO 10100 standards.

Rio Tinto’s ACF aluminium technology goes commercial

STAS and Rio Tinto have agreed to commercialise an advanced compact filtration technology (ACF) for aluminium cast houses.

The ACF technology, developed by Rio Tinto, will now be manufactured and sold under licence by equipment manufacturer STAS worldwide.

The filtration technology was developed in the early 2000s at Rio Tinto’s Arvida Research and Development Centre (ARDC), located in Quebec, Canada. The ACF technology is an optimal filtration solution that can eliminate more than 90% of inclusions in liquid aluminium, according to the company. It is used to manufacture products intended for critical applications, such as high value added aluminium sheets and plates used to produce cans.

Rio Tinto partnered with STAS to design and manufacture the first prototypes of the ACF technology for its Grande-Baie (pictured) and Laterrière smelters, in Canada, where it has been used successfully for more than a decade. “Commercialising the technology will now maximise the value gained from it, and support its ongoing development and evolution,” the company said.

Louis Bouchard, Executive President of STAS, said: “We believe the ACF technology has enormous commercial potential for the global aluminium industry and we are convinced that this partnership will maximise the value it can deliver.”

Claude Dupuis, Casting Technology Director at ARDC, added: “Thanks to the unique expertise of our researchers, the ARDC has a strong track record of creating innovative technologies that have been widely adopted and become industry standards. We look forward to continuing our long-term collaboration with STAS and other equipment manufacturers in the region.”

Alcore’s CORE plans move forward with Clough engineering appointment

Alcore Ltd has executed a contract with major Australia engineering firm, Clough, to help with the design and construction of the first Alcore production plant.

Clough, which will be represented by Clough Projects Australia Pty on the project, has been investigating the CORE technology that will be used by Alcore for several years and is ready for a smooth entry into the Alcore project, the company said.

Alcore says the engineering firm’s in-house skills and expertise provides the full spectrum of capabilities needed, including: concept evaluation & regulatory approvals; project feasibility studies; design, specialised process engineering, electrical controls & instrumentation; and construction, process optimisation and debottlenecking.

Alcore is a 90%-owned subsidiary of Australian Bauxite, which has the global exclusive rights to the aluminium-related portion of CORE Technology (patent application). After six months of test work, Alcore has committed to the best strategy for the first commercial plant called “Refine & Recycle”, whereby by-products from aluminium smelters will be converted into aluminium fluoride to be sold back to the smelters as an essential electrolyte for smelting, it said.

“This strategy has highest profit and fastest growth potential worldwide.”

Plants can be replicated adjacent to aluminium smelters throughout the western world that seek higher environmental credits for recycling by-products, reducing emissions, lowering costs and reducing their dependence on imported aluminium fluoride, according to Alcore.

Alcore can refine two smelter by-products, one with high aluminium (~85% Al) and the second with high fluorine (~55% F), so that all aluminium fluoride components are freely available, it says.

Phillip Hall, Alcore’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Clough is an ideal engineer for Alcore’s transition from the lab research stage to its first commercial plant. Clough’s long-term association with this technology augers well for good teamwork.

“Alcore is now fully-resourced on technology, having also appointed Dr Mark Cooksey, a senior CSIRO chemical engineer with over 22 years’ experience in the aluminium smelting industry.”

Alcore plans to build its first plant at Bell Bay, in Tasmania, Australia.

Miners need to do more in climate change, decarbonisation battle, McKinsey says

A report from consultancy McKinsey has raised concerns about the mining industry’s climate change and decarbonisation strategy, arguing it may not go far enough in reducing emissions in the face of pressure from governments, investors, and activists.

The report, Climate risk and decarbonization: What every mining CEO needs to know, from Lindsay Delevingne, Will Glazener, Liesbet Grégoir, and Kimberly Henderson, explains that extreme weather – tied to the potential effects of climate change – is already disrupting mining operations globally.

“Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, 195 countries pledged to limit global warming to well below 2.0°C, and ideally not more than 1.5°C above preindustrial levels,” the authors said. “That target, if pursued, would manifest in decarbonisation across industries, creating major shifts in commodity demand for the mining industry and likely resulting in declining global mining revenue pools.”

They added: “Mining-portfolio evaluation must now account for potential decarbonisation of other sectors.”

The sector will also face pressure from governments, investors, and society to reduce emissions, according to the authors.

“Mining is currently responsible for 4-7% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally. Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 emissions from the sector (those incurred through mining operations and power consumption, respectively) amount to 1%, and fugitive methane emissions from coal mining are estimated at 3-6%.

“A significant share of global emissions – 28% – would be considered Scope 3 (indirect) emissions, including the combustion of coal.”

While there have been a number of high-profile mining companies making carbon emission pledges in the past 18 months – BHP pledging $400 million of investment in a low carbon plan being one notable example – the authors say the industry has only just begun to set emissions-reduction goals.

“Current targets published by mining companies range from 0-30% by 2030, far below the Paris Agreement goals, which may not be ambitious enough in many cases,” they said.

Through operational efficiency, and electrification and renewable-energy use, mines can theoretically fully decarbonise (excluding fugitive methane), according to the authors, with the disclaimer that building a climate strategy, “won’t be quick or easy”.

Water/heat

Water stress was one area the authors homed in on, saying that climate change is expected to cause more frequent droughts and floods, altering the supply of water to mining sites and disrupting operations.

The authors, using McKinsey’s MineSpans database on copper, gold, iron ore, and zinc, recently ran and analysed a water-stress and flooding scenario to emphasise the incoming problems.

The authors found that 30-50% of the production of these four commodities is concentrated in areas where water stress is already “high”.

“In 2017, these sites accounted for roughly $150 billion in total annual revenues and were clustered into seven water-stress ‘hot spots’ for mining: Central Asia, the Chilean coast, eastern Australia, the Middle East, southern Africa, western Australia, and a large zone in western North America,” the authors said.

The authors continued: “Climate science indicates that these hot spots will worsen in the coming decades. In Chile, 80% of copper production is already located in ‘extremely high’ water-stressed and ‘arid’ areas; by 2040, it will be 100%. In Russia, 40% of the nation’s iron ore production, currently located in ‘high’ water-stressed areas, is likely to move to ‘extreme’ water stress by 2040.”

And, mining regions not accustomed to water stress are projected to become increasingly vulnerable, according to the report.

By 2040, 5% of current gold production likely will shift from ‘low–medium’ water stress to ‘medium–high’; 7% of zinc output could move from ‘medium–high’ to ‘high’ water stress, and 6% of copper production could shift from ‘high’ to ‘extremely high’ water stress.

The authors said: “Depending on the water-intensiveness of the processing approach, such changes, while seemingly minor in percentage terms, could be critical to a mine’s operations or licence to operate.”

Mining executives in these regions are acutely aware of the water issue, according to the authors.

“For instance, Leagold Mining recently shut down its RDM gold mine in Brazil for two months because of drought conditions, even though it had built a dam and a water pipeline,” they said.

Even in areas with low water stress, certain water-intensive mining processes are jeopardised.

“In Germany – not a country known for being vulnerable to drought – a potash miner was forced to close two locations because of severe water shortages in the summer of 2018, losing nearly $2 million a day per site,” they said.

“The frequency and severity of these conditions are expected to increase along with the current climate trajectory.”

To improve resiliency, companies can reduce the water intensity of their mining processes, the authors said. They can also recycle used water and reduce water loss from evaporation, leaks, and waste. Mining companies can, for example, prevent evaporation by putting covers on small and medium dams.

In the long term, more capital-intensive approaches are possible, according to the authors. This could involve new water infrastructure, such as dams and desalination plants. Companies can also rely on so-called “natural capital”, like wetland areas, to improve groundwater drainage.

The authors said: “The option of securing water rights is becoming harder and can take years of engagement because of increased competition for natural resources and tensions between operators and local communities. Basin and regional planning with regulatory and civic groups is an important strategy but cannot alone solve the underlying problem of water stress.”

On the reverse, flooding from extreme rains can also cause operational disruptions, including mine closure, washed-out roads, or unsafe water levels in tailing dams, with flooding affecting some commodities more than others based on their locations.

The authors’ analysis showed iron ore and zinc are the most exposed to ‘extremely high’ flood occurrence, at 50% and 40% of global volume, respectively.

“The problem is expected to get worse, particularly in six ‘wet spots’ likely to experience a 50-60% increase in extreme precipitation this century: northern Australia, South America, and southern Africa during Southern Hemisphere summer, and central and western Africa, India and Southeast Asia, and Indonesia during Southern Hemisphere winter,” the authors said.

Companies can adopt flood-proof mine designs that improve drainage and pumping techniques, the authors said, mentioning the adaptation of roads, or the building of sheeted haul roads, as examples.

Moving to an in-pit crushing and conveying method would also help alleviate potential floods, replacing mine site haulage and haul roads with conveyors.

When it comes to incoming extreme heat in already-hot places – like China, parts of North and West Africa and Australia – the authors noted that worker productivity could fall and cooling costs may rise, in additon to putting workers’ health (and sometimes their lives) at risk.

“Indirect socioeconomic consequences from climate change can also affect the political environment surrounding a mine,” they said.

Shifting commodity demand

Ongoing decarbonisation is likely to have a major impact on coal – “currently about 50% of the global mining market, would be the most obvious victim of such shifts”, the authors said – but it would also affect virgin-ore markets.

“In a 2°C scenario, bauxite, copper, and iron ore will see growth from new decarbonisation technologies offset by increased recycling rates, as a result of the growing circular economy and focus on metal production from recycling versus virgin ore,” they said.

At the other end of the spectrum, niche minerals could experience dramatic growth. As the global electrification of industries continues, electric vehicles and batteries will create growth markets for cobalt, lithium, and nickel.

Emerging technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and carbon capture would also boost demand for platinum, palladium, and other catalyst materials, while rare earths would be needed for wind-turbine magnets.

The authors said: “Fully replacing revenues from coal will be difficult. Yet many of the world’s biggest mining companies will need to rebalance non-diverse mineral portfolios.

“Many of the largest mining companies derive the bulk of their earnings from one or two commodities. Copper-heavy portfolios may benefit from demand growth due to widespread electrification, for example. And iron ore- and aluminium-heavy portfolios may see an upside from decarbonisation technologies, but they are also more likely to be hit by rising recycling rates.”

According to the authors, the mining industry generates between 1.9 and 5.1 gigatons of CO2-equivalent of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Further down the value chain (Scope 3 emissions), the metals industry contributes roughly 4.2 gigatons, mainly through steel and aluminium production.

To stay on track for a global 2°C scenario, all sectors would need to reduce CO2 emissions from 2010 levels by at least 50% by 2050, they said.

To limit warming to 1.5°C, a reduction of at least 85% would likely be needed.

“Mining companies’ published emissions targets tend to be more modest than that, setting low targets, not setting targets beyond the early 2020s, or focusing on emissions intensity rather than absolute numbers,” the authors said.

To estimate decarbonisation potential in mining, the authors started with a baseline of current emissions by fuel source, based on the MineSpans database of mines’ operational characteristics, overlaid with the possible impact of, and constraints on, several mining decarbonisation levers.

The potential for mines varied by commodity, mine type, power source, and grid emissions, among other factors.

“Across the industry, non-coal mines could fully decarbonise by using multiple levers. Some are more economical than others – operational efficiency, for example, can make incremental improvements to the energy intensity of mining production while requiring little capital expenditure,” they said. Moving to renewable sources of electricity is becoming increasingly feasible too, even in off-grid environments, as the cost of battery packs is projected to decline 50% from 2017 to 2030, according to the authors.

“Electrification of mining equipment, such as diesel trucks and gas-consuming appliances, is only starting to become economical. Right now, only 0.5% of mining equipment is fully electric.

“However, in some cases, battery-electric vehicles have a 20% lower total cost of ownership versus traditional internal-combustion-engine vehicles. Newmont, for example, recently started production at its all-electric Borden mine in Ontario, Canada.”

The authors said: “Several big mining companies have installed their own sustainability committees, signalling that mining is joining the wave of corporate sustainability reporting and activity. Reporting emissions and understanding decarbonisation pathways are the first steps toward setting targets and taking action.”

Yet, these actions are currently too modest to reach the 1.5-2°C scenario and may not be keeping up with society’s expectations – “as increasingly voiced by investors seeking disclosures, companies asking their suppliers to decarbonise, and communities advocating for action on environmental issues”.

They concluded: “Mining companies concerned about their long-term reputation, licence to operate, or contribution to decarbonisation efforts may start to consider more aggressive decarbonisation and resilience plans.”

Outotec refines minerals and metals focus with planned divestments

Outotec has taken a strategic decision to divest three of its businesses in the Metals, Energy & Water segment’s portfolio as it focuses on its core technologies in minerals processing and metals refining.

These businesses relate to aluminium, waste-to-energy and sludge incineration, the company said.

This news comes as Metso is going through the process of gaining approval for the acquisition of Outotec, a deal that will create a mineral processing giant.

Outotec said the aluminium business to be divested includes the green anode plant, rod shop (an example, pictured) and certain cast-house technologies as well as related service operations; while the waste-to-energy business to be divested comprises of biomass, wood waste and various other fuel plants including related service operations.

The last business – the sludge incineration segment – comprises delivery of plants for treatment of municipal and industrial sludge and related service operations.

In total, around 250 experts are working in these three businesses, which will be affected by these moves. In the company’s 2019 financial results, the businesses to be divested will be classified as discontinued operations, Outoect said.

For the financial year 2019, the intended actions will lower the expected sales by around €50 million ($55.5 million) but increase the adjusted EBIT by some €40 million, the company said.

Outotec’s CEO, Markku Teräsvasara, said: “Pursuing these strategic actions will enable Outotec to better focus on its core technologies in minerals processing and metals refining. We, of course, remain committed to serving our energy and aluminium customers until these divestments have been completed.”