Rio Tinto Outlines 6GW Australia Renewables Plan
21 Oct 2021 by renews.biz
Global mining giant Rio Tinto has outlined plans to decarbonise some of its Australian operations by using wind and solar power.
It expects to spend around AUS$7.5bn (€4.8bn) in direct capital expenditure decarbonising Rio Tinto’s assets from 2022 to 2030.
The focus will be on renewable power for iron ore in the Pilbara and for the Australian aluminium smelters, with investment of AUS$0.5bn per year from 2022 to 2024.
Decarbonisation of its iron ore operations in Western Australia's Pilbara region will be accelerated by targeting the rapid deployment of 1GW of wind and solar power.
Rio Tinto said this would abate around 1 million tonnes of CO2, replace natural gas power for plant and infrastructure and support early electrification of mining equipment.
It intends its entire Pilbara system to be electrified, including all trucks, mobile equipment and rail operations.
This will require further gigawatt-scale renewable deployment and advances in fleet technologies.
In addition, Rio Tinto said options were progressing to switch the Boyne Island and Tomago smelters in Australia to renewable energy
This will require an estimated 5GW of solar and wind power, along with a robust firming solution.
The change is being driven by continued demand growth and supply-side constraints including ongoing pressures on fossil-fuel sourced energy.
The development of its ELYSIS technology to eliminate carbon emissions from the smelting process is progressing, with commercial scale technology on track for 2024.
It is also unveiling a longer-term strategy to ensure it thrives in a decarbonising world and continues to deliver attractive shareholder returns, in line with its policy.
The Group is unveiling a new target to reduce its Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, more than tripling its previous target.
A 15% reduction in emissions is now targeted for 2025, five years earlier than previously.
These targets are supported by around $7.5bn of direct investments to lower emissions between 2022 and 2030.
In recognition of the broader carbon footprint of the commodities it produces, Rio Tinto will accelerate its investment in R&D and development of technologies that enable its customers to decarbonise.
Working in partnership with governments, suppliers, customers, academia and others Rio Tinto will continue to develop technologies like ELYSIS for carbon-free aluminium and multiple pathways to produce green steel.
To meet additional demand created by the global drive to net zero emissions, Rio Tinto will prioritise growth capital in commodities vital for this transition with an ambition to double growth capex to about $3bn a year from 2023.
Rio Tinto can decarbonise, pursue growth and continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders due to its strong balance sheet, world-class assets and focus on capital discipline.
Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm said: "Rio Tinto is taking action to strengthen our business and improve our performance by unleashing the full potential of our people and assets, working in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders.
"All our commodities are vital for the energy transition and continue to benefit from ongoing urbanisation.
"We have a clear pathway to decarbonise our business and are actively developing technologies that will enable our customers and our customers’ customers to decarbonise.
"We are able to do this, while continuing to provide attractive returns to our shareholders in line with our policy, because we have a strong balance sheet and world-class assets that deliver strong free cash flows through the cycle."