The world’s second largest mining company, Rio Tinto, has teamed up with two European companies to study low emission hot briquetted iron (HBI) production in Canada amid growing stakeholder pressure to make steel. more environmentally friendly activities.
The mining giant, which has been working to reduce emissions in the sector since 2019, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Luxembourg-based engineering firm Paul Wurth SA and German steelmaker SHS-Stahl-Holding-Saar GmbH & Co. KGaA.
Partners will explore the possibility of converting iron ore pellets into low carbon hot briquetted iron (HBI), a low carbon steel feedstock, using green hydrogen from hydroelectricity in Canada.
“Canada provides access to competitively priced hydropower and proximity to key markets in Europe and North America,” Rio Tinto said. “When processed in an electric arc furnace using carbon-free electricity, [the new process] can significantly reduce the carbon emissions associated with steelmaking.”
The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), which is majority owned by Rio, will supply high-quality iron ore for the project, and a feasibility study for potential industrial production of low-carbon iron is due to be completed in late 2021.
As part of the Rio climate strategy, the partnership will “support the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies for difficult-to-manage processes such as steelmaking,” IOC President and CEO Clayton Walker said in a statement.
The announcement builds on the group’s decision in December to invest $ 10 million in low-carbon steel projects over the next two years in partnership with China Baowu Steel Group, the country’s largest steel producer.