Brazilian miner Rio Tinto has signed a memorandum of understanding with Baowu, the largest producer of steel in China, in an effort to reduce its emissions and combat climate change, it was announced on 25 September.

Invited by The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) to sign the deal, which also includes Tsinghua University, the organisations will combine to cut the pollution created by steel’s supply chain, which accounts for 8% of the global emissions.

Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said: “This pioneering partnership across the steel value chain will bring together solutions to help address the steel industry’s carbon footprint and improve its environmental performance.

“The materials we produce have an important role to play in the transition to a low carbon future and we are committed to partnering with our customers and others to find the most sustainable ways to produce, process and market them.

“We are already doing this in aluminium and now, through this partnership, we will be doing it in the steel industry.

“We thank CISA for its support and look forward to collaborating with China’s largest steel producer, China Baowu, and Tsinghua University, a global leader in climate change research and collaboration.”


Rio Tinto shifts focus to emissions reduction

In August this year, Rio Tinto announced its best-ever half-year profits along with a special $1bn dividend equal to $0.61 per share.

The Anglo-Australian multinational, one of the largest miners in operation today, also declared a half-year dividend of $2.5bn, totalling $1.51 per share, after reporting record interim returns of $3.5bn.

It attributed the positive numbers to the output of its Pilbara network of 16 mines, four independent port terminals and a 1,700 kilometre rail network, as well as a surge in global iron prices.

Now, it looks to improve its research and development, technologies, processes, equipment, logistics, industry coordination and policy advisory capability in a bid to improve its environmental performance in conjunction with Baowu.

The Chinese steel giant’s chairman Chen Derong said: “China Baowu is committed to ecological and sustainable development. We will promote sustainable production through intelligent manufacturing.

“We want to make a difference to the iron and steel ecosystem by developing greener factories and enterprises to deliver a cleaner, more sustainable steel industry.

“China Baowu looks forward to exploring low-carbon metallurgical innovation with Rio Tinto and Tsinghua University, and building a low-carbon industrial value chain.

“We hope to jointly address climate challenges with our partners, and create a model of harmonious coexistence between cities and steel mills.”

Tsinghua University vice president You Zheng said: “Tsinghua is committed to providing solutions to climate change challenges and contributing wisdom to sustainable development.

“Initiating the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate is an important milestone, and just one example.

“The signing will enable us to work closely with the upstream and downstream of the steel industry value chain to jointly find the solution to the industry’s low-carbon transformation.”