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Rio Tinto to invest $10M with China Baowu Steel in low-carbon steelmaking projects and research

Rio Tinto has committed to invest $10 million with the world’s largest steel producer China Baowu Steel Group over the next two years in low-carbon steelmaking projects and research.

This investment is the next step in advancing the partnership formed between Rio Tinto, China Baowu and Tsinghua University in 2019 to develop and implement new methods to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental performance across the steel value chain. (Earlier post.)

Rio Tinto’s investment will fund the joint establishment of a Low Carbon Raw Materials Preparation R&D Centre, which will initially prioritize the development of lower carbon ore preparation processes.

This will include creating two ore preparation pilot plants, one to use biomass and the other exploring using microwave technology. The investment will also support work on carbon dioxide z and conversion at the China Baowu Low Carbon Metallurgical Innovation Center, which is a Baowu-led open platform for advancing metallurgical technologies to support the low-carbon transformation of the steel industry.

These investments will advance technologies that will be crucial in reducing emissions from China’s prevalent iron and steel making process, and will support both the short and long-term decarbonisation goals of the steel industry. As the world’s largest steel producer, China Baowu’s leadership in advancing low-carbon steel solutions is an important pillar in supporting China’s target of striving to be carbon neutral by 2060.

This investment with our partners at China Baowu is an important step in our climate partnership. We have been able to identify research and development projects which have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon emissions associated with existing steelmaking processes, as well as developing technologies for the future of steelmaking to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The initial priority areas identified by the partnership for investment show the value of working together to share resources and utilise the strengths of the respective teams to make progress towards a low-carbon steel value chain.

—Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques

Rio Tinto has reduced its emissions footprint by more than 30% in the decade to 2020. The company has set ambitious emissions targets to reduce carbon intensity by a further 30% and absolute emissions by a further 15% by 2030, alongside establishing a $1-billion fund to invest in climate related projects. These targets will bring us a step closer to achieving the long-term goal of becoming net zero emissions by 2050.

In 2018, Rio Tinto completed the divestment of its coal assets, becoming the only major mining company not producing fossil fuels. In the same year, it also entered into the Elysis joint venture with Alcoa, with investments from the Government of Québec and Apple, which is developing a revolutionary process to make aluminum that eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions from smelting.

The vision of China Baowu is to become a leader in the global steel industry, with a mission to build up a high-quality steel ecosphere. The overall approach of China Baowu’s low-carbon metallurgical technology innovation is to explore and adopt key low-carbon technologies by continuously innovating and improving the existing steelmaking process in the short term, and to lead technology of the future in the longer term.

China Baowu is building an open platform to work with partners to explore technology solutions and roadmaps to reinvent the steel-making process and reshape the low-carbon value chain for the steel industry’s low-carbon transformation.


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