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Diversified miner Anglo American has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with German steel product manufacturer Salzgitter Flachstahl to collaborate on decarbonising of the steelmaking industry.

The companies will conduct research into feed materials, including iron-ore pellets and lump iron-ores, that are suitable for use in direct reduction steelmaking – based on natural gas and hydrogen – which is a less carbon-intensive production method compared with conventional blast

The companies may also venture into development of broader hydrogen technologies.

Anglo marketing business CEO Peter Whitcutt says steel is a vital building block of modern living and a critical metal for the energy transition, but remains a significant producer of carbon dioxide.

To help mitigate this, and to meet Anglo’s ambitious carbon neutrality goal by 2040, the company is committed to collaborating with companies such as Salzgitter to help drive emissions reductions across the entire steelmaking sector.

The European steel industry has been developing new steelmaking technologies to reduce its carbon footprint, with Salzgitter working to produce steel as resource-efficiently as possible under its Salzgitter Low Carbon Doxide Steelmaking project.

The project is targeting a switch from the use of blast furnaces powered by coal to wholly direct reduction steelmaking.

Salzgitter Flachstahl chairperson Ulrich Grethe says cleaner steelmaking depends on high-quality iron-ore feedstock and looks forward to decarbonising steel production alongside Anglo.