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Rio Tinto to invest US$1 billion to help meet new climate change targets

Published by , Editor
Global Mining Review,

Rio Tinto has recently announced plans to invest approximately US$1 billion over the next 5 years to support the delivery of its new climate change targets and a company objective for a net zero emissions from operations by 2050.

2030 targets

The new targets for 2030 are:

  • A further 30% reduction in Rio Tinto’s emissions intensity from 2018 levels
  • A further 15% reduction in Rio Tinto’s absolute emissions from 2018 levels

Under these targets, the company’s overall growth between now and 2030 will be carbon neutral.

Rio Tinto CEO, J-S Jacques, said: “Climate change is a global challenge and will require action across nations, across industries and by society at large. New technologies, partnership and effective government policies will be key in achieving this goal, but today there is no clear pathway for the world to get to net zero emissions by 2050.

“The ambition is clear but the pathway is not, and the challenge for the world and for the resources industry, is to continue to focus on poverty reduction and wealth creation while delivering climate change. This will require complex trade-offs which means every person needs to face up to some challenging decisions and have an honest conversation.

For Rio Tinto, it is about setting a long-term ambition and establishing stretching, but achievable targets, like the company has done for 2030 and 2050. It is fully committed to meeting that challenge and being part of the solution.”

Climate report

Rio Tinto’s second climate report, guided by the recommendations of the Task Force on climate-related financial disclosures, sets out how Rio Tinto plans to achieve its ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 through action in four areas:

1. Produce materials essential for a low-carbon future

The production of aluminium, copper and high-grade iron ore will play a part in the transition to a low carbon economy.

2. Reduce the carbon footprint of operations.

Rio Tinto is taking steps to enhance productivity and efficiency, as well as exploring alternative sources of energy and developing pathways to reduce emissions. In February 2020, the company announced a US$100 million investment in a new solar plant at the Koodaideri mine in the Pilbara, Australia, as well as a lithium-ion battery energy storage system to help power its Pilbara power network.

3. Partner to reduce the carbon footprint across the value chain

Climate change will only be solved through collective action by government, business and consumers across the globe. Rio Tinto is working on innovative partnerships to stimulate action with customers and other parties across the value chain. In September 2019, the company partnered with China Baow Steel Group and Tsinghua University to develop solutions to help address the steel industry’s carbon footprint and improve environmental performance. In 2018, the company announced a new technology partnership with Alcoa, with support from Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec, to further develop ELYSIS carbon-free aluminium smelting technology.

4. Enhance resilience to physical climate risk

The company considers climate-related risks over the life of its operations, from design to closure and beyond. The impact of extreme weather events is already being seen at many sites, and work is underway to assess the probability and potential impact of these risks in the future. 76% of electricity consumption at managed operation is from renewable energy, and most of the operations have significantly lower carbon intensities than sector averages.

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