Tag Archives: Climate change

BHP signs third low-carbon steelmaking partnership

BHP has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China’s HBIS Group Co Ltd, one of the world’s largest steelmakers and a major customer of BHP’s iron ore, with the intention of investing up to $15 million over three years to jointly study and explore greenhouse gas emission reduction technologies and pathways.

Under the partnership, BHP and HBIS Group intend to collaborate on three priority areas: hydrogen-based direct reduction technology, the recycling and reuse of steelmaking slag, and the role of iron ore lump use to help reduce emissions from ironmaking and steelmaking.

The partnership aims to help both companies progress toward their climate change goals and support the steel industry’s role in helping to achieve China’s ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2060.

BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “We view decarbonisation of the steel industry as a complex puzzle that requires multiple technological solutions across the value chain over different time horizons. By forming this third low-carbon steelmaking partnership with HBIS Group, we are focusing on additional components, such as the role our products play in hydrogen-based steel production, that complement our other partnerships and support for endeavours in emissions reduction and capture from the traditional blast furnace route.”

In February, the mining major signed a similar MoU with leading Japanese steel producer, JFE Steel, while, in November 2020, BHP and China Baowu signed a pact that could see up to $35 million invested in tackling greenhouse gas emission reductions in the global steel industry.

BHP’s investment would be drawn from its $400 million Climate Investment Program, established in 2019 to support projects, partnerships, research and development to help reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, said: “BHP has a long and trusted relationship with HBIS Group, and we are pleased to establish this strategic partnership to explore new ways to reduce emissions from steelmaking. Global decarbonisation will require collaboration and collective effort, and our work with partners such as HBIS Group will build on our own actions and help reduce emissions right through the value chain.”

Chairman of the World Steel Association, Party Secretary and Chairman of HBIS Group, Yu Yong, said: “The signing of the MoU fully demonstrates the two companies’ commitment to creating a green and low-carbon future across the value chain and a shared sense of responsibility to address climate change together, with a common vision to ‘contributing to a community of a shared future for mankind’. This partnership ushers in a new chapter for the two companies to deepen our strategic cooperation and to achieve collaborative development.”

BHP has also been active in other areas to reduce emissions, including awarding the world’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carrier tender and the first LNG supply agreement for those vessels, and renewable energy supply contracts for BHP’s Queensland coal mines and Nickel West operations.

Polyus’ Olimpiada and Blagodatnoye mines to operate on 100% renewable energy

PJSC Polyus’ decarbonisation plans have accelerated with an agreement for the supply of environmentally friendly electricity generated from PJSC RusHydro’s Sayano-Shushenskaya hydro power plant to its Krasnoyarsk Business Unit (KBU) in Russia.

The agreement, which assumes the provision of approximately 1 billion kWh of energy to KBU in 2021, means up to 90% of the electricity demand from the company’s production facilities will be met by renewable sources.

Once supplies under this contract commence, 100% of the electricity consumed by Polyus’ largest producing assets, Olimpiada (pictured) and Blagodatnoye, will be renewable.

Based on this estimate, KBU expects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2021 by almost half, while company-wide GHG emissions may decrease by a third compared with the previous year.

The agreement will cover the period until December 31, 2021, with the possibility of an extension, Polyus said.

In 2020, Polyus and RusHydro signed a five-year bilateral agreement for the sale and purchase of electricity produced by hydroelectric power plants on the territory of a technologically isolated electric power system in the Magadan region. The volume of electricity supplied under this agreement was greater than 300 million kWh/y.

Pavel Grachev, Chief Executive Officer of PJSC Polyus, commented: “This deal marks the transition of Polyus’ core business unit to renewable energy sources and represents a landmark event for our company. Climate change is a global challenge, and it is important that as a responsible business we support the decarbonisation of the global economy. For this reason, we are choosing to power our production assets with energy sources that will minimise our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Antofagasta responds to environmental concerns with new Los Pelambres copper mine plan

Antofagasta Minerals is preparing to submit an investment proposal for its Los Pelambres mine in Chile that could see it stop using water from the Choapa River and nearby wells, and to use mainly seawater from 2025.

In this way, MLP will be able to guarantee the availability of water for its operations and advance its studies into extending its operations beyond 2035, when its current environmental permits expire, it said.

The submission to the Environmental Impact Assessment System (SEIA) also considers Minera Los Pelambres (MLP), the operating entity, building a new concentrate transportation system with modern control systems, routed away from the most populated areas. This will allow maintenance to be carried out without interfering with the daily life of the surrounding communities.

The 60%-owned mine produced 363,400 t of copper in 2019, alongside 11,200 t of molybdenum and 59,700 oz of gold.

Iván Arriagada, CEO of Antofagasta Minerals, said: “We are going to invest in works that allow us to adapt our operation to the changes that have occurred in the Choapa province and the region over the last 20 years as a result of the prolonged drought caused by climate change and the increase in its population and productive activity.

“This is a key step in the future of Los Pelambres.”

Arriagada added: “We have a long-term strategic vision to extend the life of the operations while ensuring its continued coexistence with other productive activities in the province of Choapa. We are particularly interested in taking care of natural resources that are scarce today, such as water, and continuing to reduce our potential impact on the environment.”

This new stage of the company’s development, called Los Pelambres Futuro, also includes the contribution of the Los Pelambres Expansion project, which was 36% complete as at the end of June. A significant part of the work on the project was stopped as a result of COVID-19 and construction is now restarting in stages.

“We want to make minor adjustments to the design of the expansion project, which is already under construction, to facilitate the future expansion of the desalination plant,” Arriagada said. “In this way, there we will be less impact on the environment.”

It is estimated that the Operational Adaptation Investment (OAI) will be submitted to the SEIA in the first half of 2021. Its execution could begin in 2023, creating up to 2,000 jobs.

The OAI includes the expansion of the 400 litre/s desalination plant, currently being built in Punta Chungo, and the industrial quality desalinated water supply system, to 800 litres/s.

Mauricio Larraín, General Manager of MLP, said: “If our investment proposal is approved, in the coming years we could stop extracting water from the Choapa River and nearby wells, and more than 95% of the water used by Los Pelambres will either come from the sea or will be recirculated water.”

This plan could see MLP become the first mining company in the central zone of Chile to operate predominantly with seawater.

“The decision to use desalinated water is an idea that arose from dialogue with nearby communities and authorities and seemed to us to be the best way that we could contribute to easing the water scarcity challenges in this part of the country that affects us all,” Larraín said.

The company, which currently has environmental permits to extract water from the Choapa River until 2035, has worked for years with its neighbours and the authorities on the water management of the Choapa Valley. This work will continue in the future with the objective of promoting the sustainable use of the available water and strengthening the Rural Drinking Water systems for human consumption, the company said.

Lastly, the Environmental Impact Study will include some continuity and maintenance works for the tailings system. These works are already included in the Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA) 38/2004 and consist of works on the north and south contour channels, repositioning pipes and other works.

Arriagada concluded: “This set of initiatives will require very significant investment in the province of Choapa over the next 10 years, close to $1 billion, and will also generate a significant number of jobs. It will also contribute towards helping the region and the country overcome the social and economic crisis generated by COVID-19 as soon as possible.”

BHP weighs trolley assist and IPCC as part of decarbonisation efforts

BHP has provided an update on its progress on climate action, new climate commitments and how it integrates climate change into corporate strategy and portfolio decisions in a new report.

The company’s climate change approach focuses on reducing operational greenhouse gas emissions, investing in low emissions technologies, promoting product stewardship, managing climate-related risk and opportunity, and partnering with others to enhance the global policy and market response, it says.

“BHP supports the aim of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C,” the company clarified.

It explained: “BHP has been active in addressing climate risks for more than two decades, and has already established its long-term goal of achieving net zero operational (Scope 1 and 2) emissions by 2050 and its short-term target of maintaining operational emissions at or below financial year (FY) 2017 levels by FY2022, using carbon offsets as required.”

In the past year, BHP has made progress on this aim, announcing that the Escondida and Spence copper mines in Chile will move to 100% renewable energy by the mid-2020s, and, last week, awarding new renewable energy contracts for its Queensland coal assets, and the world’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carrier tender.

BHP’s climate change briefing and 2020 climate change report outline how the company will accelerate its own actions and help others to do the same, it said. Today’s update sets out:

  • A medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% from adjusted FY2020 levels by FY2030;
  • Scope 3 actions to contribute to decarbonisation in its value chain. This includes supporting the steelmaking industry to develop technologies and pathways capable of 30% emissions intensity reduction with widespread adoption expected post-2030 and, in terms of transportation, supporting emissions intensity reduction of 40% in BHP-chartered shipping of products;
  • Strengthened linking of executive remuneration to delivery of BHP’s climate plan; and
  • Insight into the performance of BHP’s portfolio in a transition to a 1.5°C scenario.

The report also outlined some examples of emission reduction projects the miner is considering, which will be weighed as part of the maintenance capital category of its capital allocation framework. This includes solar power installations; alternative material movement technologies such as overland conveyors and in-pit crush and convey solutions; and trolley assist to displace diesel for haul trucks.

The company expanded on this in its report: “The path to electrification of mining equipment will likely include solutions such as trolley assist, in-pit crush and convey, overland conveyors and battery solutions.

“Diesel displacement represents a higher risk, higher capital step towards decarbonisation, so a phased approach to execution is proposed with particular emphasis on Minerals Americas-operated assets that are further advanced on the decarbonisation journey. Taking a transitional approach to electrification provides flexibility to allow for the potential for rapid development of emerging technologies and to resolve the complexities of integrating these technologies into existing operations.

“During FY2021, we will seek to collaborate further with International Council on Mining and Metals members, industry and original equipment manufacturers to progress research and development to reduce costs and assess any potential impacts from electrified mining equipment solutions to replace current diesel options.”

BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, said of the report: “I’m pleased today to show how we are accelerating our own actions and helping others to do the same in addressing climate change. We see ourselves as accountable to take action. We recognise that our investors, our people and the communities and nations who host our operations or buy our products have increasing expectations of us – and are responsive to these.

“Our approach to climate change is defined by a number of key requirements. Our actions must be of substance. They must be real, tangible actions to drive emissions down. We must focus on what we can control inside our business, and work with others to help them reduce emissions from the things that they control. To create long-term value and returns over generations, we must continue to generate value and returns within the strong portfolio we have today, while shaping our portfolio over time to benefit from the megatrends playing out in the world including decarbonisation and electrification.

“Our portfolio is well positioned to support the transition to a lower carbon world aligned with the Paris Agreement. Our commodities are essential for global economic growth and the world’s ability to transition to and thrive in a low carbon future. Climate change action makes good economic sense for BHP and enables us to create further value.”

Metso Outotec to flex minerals processing muscles following merger

The first public showing from executives of the new Metso Outotec has highlighted just how big the new group will be within the mineral processing ecosystem.

Circa-15,000 employees, some 5,000 service representatives, around €4.2 billion ($4.7 billion) of sales in 2019…the stats are impressive.

The minerals sector dominates within this, representing 61% of 2019 sales.

It will cover everything from comminution through to tailings management, meaning the company will be able to touch most parts of the process not involving ‘mining’ itself.

Coming just a day after the merger was completed, Pekka Vauramo, President and CEO, and Eeva Sipilä, CFO and Deputy CEO, understandably did not go into too much detail on the webcast about what the year-long merger approval process had shown the executive team in terms of their initial cost synergy estimates. Investors will have to wait until August for more detail on that.

Last year when announcing the deal, the companies said they expected to achieve run-rate annual pre-tax cost synergies of at least €100 million and run-rate annual revenue synergies of at least €150 million.

Vauramo explained on the webcast that it was the services, minerals and consumables business areas where there was most overlap between the two entities.

But it appears there will be more than just cost advantages to the tie-up.

Vauramo said: “We are complementing each other’s offerings and activities so well that we have many cross-selling opportunities if we speak about what Outotec can do for Metso’s part and what Metso can do for Outotec’s part.”

Sipilä added to this, saying there were complementary areas within the services sector ripe for these type of synergies.

With such a huge offering, it is hard to pick out areas of focus for Metso Outotec, but sustainability has been front and centre for both Metso and Outotec in the recent past. Unsurprisingly, it will be important for the combined group.

On climate change, Vauramo said: “We are really on the spot with that one to develop more efficient processes, with higher recoveries, better quality, less water consumption or full recirculation of water.”

By taking a more “holistic look” at the whole processing flowsheet, the company will be able to ensure less energy is used throughout the entire process, leading to lower emissions. Any water that is consumed will be recycled where possible, according to Vauramo.

This also implies tailings management will be a cornerstone for Metso Outotec, leveraging both companies’ expertise in filtration technology, alongside Outotec’s paste backfill capability, and other developments the two have made within the dry stacked tailings arena.

“Our expertise is in that process,” Vauramo said of tailings management. “That is where we want to be, and we want to further innovate that process.”

Digitalisation developments within the services area (which represents 56% of group sales) will also accelerate within the larger group.

Vauramo, referencing Metso’s experience during the last three-and-a-bit months, thinks remote monitoring opportunities will grow.

“The COVID virus has shown that the need for remote monitoring is really increasing,” he said. “It has shown many business cases for future remote monitoring needs.

“We have learnt that mines can operate at least temporarily – some over a longer period of time – with a reduced presence at site. But, for service reasons, we do need to know how the equipment performs.”

A third remote performance centre (previously called Metso Performance Center) was recently added to this digital offering through the redevelopment of a former Outotec premise in Espoo, Finland. This European location comes on top of the centres already opened in South America (Santiago, Chile) and Asia (Changsha, China).

It is the R&D part of the new entity that will help the company continue to innovate on this front and others; this is an area Vauramo believes the company can continue to lead on.

“Our R&D investments annually are €100 million,” he said. “That is more than anyone else in the industry.”

The company has 30 R&D centres, more than 8,000 patents and produces around 15 new innovations or products a year from this “mostly decentralised” platform.

Asked whether he expected this type of spending to continue into the future, he said: “€100 million makes just short of 2.5% of our combined sales. I would say we are in the right range (with that figure). Whether it should be 3%, or whether we continue with this approximately 2.5% of sales remains to be seen; it depends on our strategy and the opportunities we see.

“What I would say is that we will not hesitate to increase it (the spend) if we have the right opportunities.”

Rio Tinto reinforces strategy, technology and climate change focus

Rio Tinto has added a new role to its Executive Committee as it considers the next phase of its transformation to, it says, reinforce the company’s commitment to strategy, technology and climate change in a new era.

Peter Toth will become Group Executive, Strategy and Development with a focus on leading Rio Tinto’s transformation efforts around portfolio, climate change, and closure, working in partnership with the product group and commercial teams. He will also assume responsibility for Rio Tinto Exploration and Ventures.

Stephen McIntosh, Group Executive of Growth & Innovation and Health, Safety & Environment (HSE), has decided to retire after more than 30 years with Rio, leaving the company on September 30. McIntosh joined the company as an exploration geophysicist in 1987 and led the exploration team from 2011 to 2016, joining the Executive Committee in 2016. During his time with the company, he built strong exploration, project and technology capabilities, Rio said.

With McIntosh’s departure, Mark Davies will assume the role of Group Executive, Safety, Technical and Projects, with a focus on maintaining the company’s longstanding commitment to safety, health and environment, while further building on the company’s efforts in technology and project delivery to support operational excellence in the years ahead, Rio said.

Both Toth and Davies will join the Rio Tinto Executive Committee on October 1, reporting to Chief Executive, J-S Jacques.

Toth, a dual Hungarian and Australian citizen, joined Rio Tinto in 2014 as Global Head of Strategy. In 2015, he became Head of Corporate Development with responsibility for corporate strategy (including climate strategy) and business development. He was the Chief Executive of ASX-listed OM Holdings, an integrated manganese and silicon company, between 2008 and 2014 and, prior to this, spent 14 years with BHP Billiton in a range of roles, including the Head of Marketing for carbon steel materials. He is based in London.

Davies, an Australian citizen, brings extensive international experience gained over 25 years with Rio Tinto in Australia, the US, the UK and Singapore, Rio says. He joined the company in 1995 as a senior mechanical engineer and has worked in various operational and functional leadership roles during this time. These include Chief Commercial Officer and interim CEO for the Iron and Titanium business unit, head of Group Risk and most recently, Vice President, Global Procurement. He will move to Brisbane.

J-S Jacques said: “We remain committed to strong performance, disciplined capital allocation and a focus on value over volume as we transform our business to make the most of future opportunities in an increasingly complex world. With Peter and Mark joining the executive team we will enhance our focus in areas that will be absolutely vital for Rio Tinto’s future performance and success – strategy, technology and climate change. I welcome them both to our team.

“As we welcome our new team members we also say goodbye to Steve, who has significantly contributed to our company over many decades. We are very grateful for his support and leadership in areas from exploration to innovation. We thank him for his commitment, and I wish Steve and his family all the very best for the future.”

TOMRA sensor-based ore sorting tech to help miners achieve circular economy

TOMRA Sorting Mining believes its sensor-based ore sorting solutions have a role to play in the new circular economy, helping miners reduce their impact on the environment while remaining profitable.

Last March, the European Commission announced its Circular Economy Action Plan as one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal. This new EU action plan promotes the idea of a circular economy and fosters sustainable processes along the entire lifecycle of products, aiming to ensure the resources used remain in use for as long as possible.

The plan focuses on the sectors that use most resources and where the potential for circularity is high, many of which rely on the mining industry for their raw materials, TOMRA says.

“Mining will play a vital role, as primary resources will continue to be needed due to the growing population and rising per capita consumption, and because it is impossible to close the loop,” the company explained. “They are also used for modern applications in energy production and high-tech products.

“In addition, the sustainable development goals that the United Nations have set up for 2030 are driving the development of green technologies that use a variety of minerals. Mining companies will have to adapt as their customers shift to a circular economy approach, and they will have a key role to play in this transition.”

The development of a circular economy in mining presents both challenges and opportunities for mining companies. It has the potential to address the shortage of mineral resources, waste of resources and environmental pollution while generating economic benefits, according to TOMRA.

“The circular-economy approach prioritises reusing materials over extracting new raw materials,” it said. “However, the need for virgin materials remains, and wherever they are used, their footprint should be as small as possible.”

In order to reduce the footprint of the products they offer, mining companies will need to find ways to maximise the efficiency of their operations and to minimise the use of energy and other inputs, while reducing waste as much as possible.

Dr Mathilde Robben, Key Account Manager at TOMRA Sorting Mining, said: “Climate change and the pursuit of sustainable energy are shaping the global economy of the future, driving the transition from a linear to a circular economy model. The mining industry is already adapting and shifting towards a Green Mining approach.

“As a large consumer of energy, water and chemicals, it is a prime example of a sector where much can be done to reduce the impact on the environment. However, it is vital that it achieves this move towards sustainable practices without losing sight of profitability.”

This is where TOMRA’s advanced sensor-based sorting technologies, using sensors such as X-ray Transmission (XRT), come into play.

Dr Robben continued: “TOMRA’s advanced sensor-based sorting technologies address the main challenges the mining industry faces today, such as declining head grades and increasingly difficult to access orebodies, rising energy and labour costs, and increased environmental liability, while providing a highly cost-effective solution for mining operations to participate in the circular economy and make the most of the new opportunities it brings.”

MCA spells out Australia mineral industry’s decarbonisation plan

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has released a Climate Action Plan that, it says, demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the Australia minerals industry to decarbonise the economy and address climate change.

The plan outlines how the MCA and its members are taking action on climate change as part of the minerals sector’s collective commitment to the Paris Agreement and its goal of net zero emissions globally and in Australia, the MCA said.

It outlines a series of actions focused on three key themes:

  • Support developing technology pathways to achieve significant reductions in Australia’s greenhouse emissions;
  • Increased transparency on climate change related reporting and informed advocacy; and
  • Knowledge sharing of the sector’s responses to addressing climate change.

The MCA said: “Sustained climate action across all nations is required to reduce the risks of human-induced climate change and to support worldwide decarbonisation as we transform to a lower emissions future.”

Among a number of technologies being supported in the plan are low carbon opportunities such as renewable energy and the use of electric vehicles at mine sites.

“With this plan, the sector acknowledges the critical importance of technology in reducing emissions,” the MCA said. “The minerals industry works with manufacturing and innovation partners to invent, develop and deploy new techniques and technologies.”

It added: “It is clear that the scale of the technology-led transformation required will not occur without the minerals and raw materials provided by the Australian mining sector. The industry sees great opportunities for minerals such as lithium, cobalt and copper in all forms of transport infrastructure, communications and energy systems.”

The MCA’s Climate Action Plan is made up of two components: an enduring 10-point framework to support three core objectives and a comprehensive three-year rolling work plan with 30 activities.

The Climate Action Plan will be reviewed annually and publicly reported on to ensure it remains consistent with Australia’s climate policy ambitions in support of the Paris Agreement.

The MCA concluded: “The plan demonstrates that the minerals sector not only has the ambition to decarbonise the sector – it also has an action plan to get there.”

To read more about the plan, click here.

Vale to tackle Scope 1 and 2 emissions with plus-$2 billion investment

Vale has topped its fellow Tier 1 miners with a plan to invest at least $2 billion in an effort to combat climate change.

The amount, the largest ever committed by the mining industry to combat climate change, according to the company, is geared towards reducing its direct and indirect absolute emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 33% by 2030.

Rio Tinto, in February, announced a plan to invest “more than $1 billion” over the next five years to support the delivery of its new climate change targets, while BHP, in July 2019, announced a five-year, $400 million Climate Investment Program to develop technologies to reduce emissions from its own operations as well as those generated from the use of its resources.

The goal complies with the Paris Agreement, which established a maximum limit to ensure the global average temperature rose by no more than 2°C by 2100, Vale said.

“With this initiative, Vale aims to transform itself into a company with zero net emissions in Scope 1 and 2 by 2050, leading the industry towards carbon-neutral mining,” the company said.

The plan was unveiled yesterday (May 12) by Vale’s CEO, Eduardo Bartolomeo, during the annual meeting with analysts from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, carried out virtually.

It is an advance on the corporate climate agenda, which Vale set out in December last year.

Back then, Vale announced its goal to reduce its emissions and established an internal carbon pricing of $50/t of CO2, equivalent for capital projects and competitors.

Bartolomeo said: “This agenda is a result of a listening process, aligned with a real climate change-related demand from society for a robust reduction in emissions in the Scope 1 and 2. We are stepping forward to develop a New Pact with Society with more transparency and responsibility.”

Vale has established the Low Carbon Forum – a group led by the CEO and comprised of six executive directors and employees from different areas of the company – whose purpose is to guide the implementation of these Scope 1 and 2 commitments.

According to Luiz Eduardo Osorio, Vale’s Executive Director for Institutional Relations, Communication and Sustainability, 35 initiatives are under analysis using the Marginal Abatement Cost Curve – a tool that allows the ordering of projects by costs and potential for reducing emissions.

He said: “There are projects for the use of biodiesel in the area of Base Metals, energy efficiency, electrification of mines and railroads, biofuels in pelletising instead of coal, and renewable energy because one of Vale’s goals is to achieve 100% of self-production of electric power from clean sources, such as wind and solar, in its plants around the world.”

By the end of the second half of this year, some pilot projects will be in operation, it said.

The Vitória-Minas railroad will have the first 100% electric locomotive, electric vehicles will be tested in underground operation at the Creighton (photo above is of a trial of the Rokion battery-powered R200 personnel carrier at Creighton) and Coleman mines in Canada, and Vale’s pelletising plant in São Luís (Maranhão) will replace coal with biofuel, it said.

The base year used to calculate the carbon goal was 2017, when Vale’s emissions reached 14.1 Mt CO2 equivalent. The goal is to reduce it to 9.5 Mt of CO2 equivalent by 2030.

Vale will also recover and protect another 500,000 ha of native forest by 2030, on top of the more than 1 Mha it currently protects worldwide, it said.

“In addition to its ambition to neutralise its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2050, Vale aims to establish a goal for Scope 3 emissions to encourage clients and suppliers in the same direction,” it said.

Through active engagement with clients from the steel and metallurgy industries, Vale says it will work to reduce emissions in its value chain.

“The company will guide its operations based on win-win relationships, less intensive products and new technologies,” it said.

Rio aims for ‘net zero emissions’ from operations by 2050

Rio Tinto has announced plans to invest around $1 billion over the next five years to support the delivery of its new climate change targets and a company objective for net zero emissions from operations by 2050.

The new targets for 2030 are a further 30% reduction in Rio Tinto’s emissions intensity from 2018 levels, and a further 15% reduction in Rio Tinto’s absolute emissions from 2018 levels.

Under these targets, Rio Tinto’s overall growth between now and 2030 will be carbon neutral, the company said.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive, J-S Jacques, said: “Climate change is a global challenge and will require action across nations, across industries and by society at large. New technologies, partnerships and effective government policies will be key in achieving this goal but today there is no clear pathway for the world to get to net zero emissions by 2050.”

Jacques said while the ambition “is clear”, the “pathway is not” and the challenge for both the world and the resources industry is “to continue the focus on poverty reduction and wealth creation, while delivering climate action”.

He added: “This will require complex trade-offs which means we all need to face up to some challenging decisions and have an honest conversation.”

Jacques concluded: “For Rio Tinto, it is about setting a long-term ambition and establishing stretching, but achievable targets, like we have done for 2030 and 2050. We are fully committed to meeting that challenge and being part of the solution.”

Rio Tinto’s second climate report, published today and guided by the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, sets out how Rio Tinto plans to achieve its ambition of net-zero emissions by 2050 through action in four areas.

Produce materials essential for a low-carbon future

The production of aluminium, copper and high-grade iron ore will play a part in the transition to a low carbon economy.

Reduce the carbon footprint of operations

Rio Tinto is taking steps to enhance productivity and efficiency, as well as exploring alternative sources of energy and developing pathways to reduce emissions. In February, Rio announced a $100 million investment in a new solar plant at the Koodaideri mine in the Pilbara, Australia, as well as a lithium-ion battery energy storage system to help power its entire Pilbara power network.

Partner to reduce the carbon footprint across the value chain

Climate change will only be solved through collective action by government, business and consumers across the globe, according to Rio. The company says it is working on innovative partnerships to stimulate action with customers and other parties across the value chain.

In September 2019, Rio Tinto launched an initiative in the steel industry, partnering with China Baowu Steel Group and Tsinghua University to develop solutions to help address the steel industry’s carbon footprint and improve environmental performance.

In 2018, Rio announced a new technology partnership with Alcoa, with support from Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec, to further develop ELYSIS carbon-free aluminium smelting technology.

Enhance resilience to physical climate risks

Rio Tinto says it considers climate-related risks over the life of its operations from design to closure and beyond. The impact of extreme weather events is already being seen at many sites and work is underway to assess the probability and potential impact of these risks in the future. Seventy-six per cent of electricity consumption at managed operations is from renewable energy and most of the operations have significantly lower carbon intensities than sector averages.

Rio said: “Rio Tinto’s new 2030 climate targets are linked to executive remuneration. The Chief Executive’s Short Term Incentive Plan includes delivery of the group’s strategy on climate consistent with the new targets. These are cascaded down to relevant members of the Executive Committee and other members of senior management.”