Rio Tinto and the Salzgitter Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards carbon-free steelmaking by studying optimisation of Rio Tinto’s high-quality Canadian and Australian iron ore products for use in Salzgitter’s SALCOS® green steel project in Germany.
Under the MoU, the two companies will explore optimisation of iron ore pellets, lump and fines for use in hydrogen direct reduction steelmaking. The two companies will also explore the potential for greenhouse gas emission certification across the steel value chain.
Rio Tinto produces iron ore pellets and concentrate at Iron Ore Company of Canada and iron ore lump and fines in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The partnership will focus on the potential use of these products in the SALCOS – Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking – program, which is targeting virtually carbon-free steel production, starting step-by-step in 2025 using hydrogen direct reduction.
Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios, said: “We welcome the chance to work with Salzgitter on ways to accelerate green steelmaking, in keeping with our commitment to reduce emissions across the steel value chain.
“Salzgitter has one of the world’s most advanced green steelmaking projects. Rio Tinto is excited at the opportunity of supplying our product and combining our technical expertise with that of Salzgitter to help advance the SALCOS project.”
Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH Chairman of the Management Board, Ulrich Grethe, said: “With this alliance, we want to combine the knowledge of both companies to make further progress with low-carbon steel production.
“In this context, the Salzgitter Group is relying on strong partners, as set out in our ‘Salzgitter AG 2030’ Group strategy, in line with its motto of ‘Partnering for Circular Solutions’.”
The agreement follows a similar technical cooperation pact signed with LKAB last week, which could see the Europe-based iron ore miner supply high-quality iron ore pellets to Salzgitter for its SALCOS project.
Rio Tinto says it is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and is targeting a 15% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2025 (from a 2018 baseline) and a 50% reduction by 2030. Rio Tinto’s approach to addressing Scope 3 emissions is to engage with its customers on climate change and work with them to develop the technologies to decarbonise.
Under the SALCOS program, Salzgitter’s carbon-based blast furnace route will gradually be replaced from the middle of this decade by direct reduction plants, initially operated by natural gas and then with a steadily increasing proportion of hydrogen.