Rio Tinto and the Salzgitter Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards carbon-free steelmaking by using Rio Tinto’s high-quality Canadian and Australian iron ore products in the SALCOS green steel project in Germany.
Under the MoU, Rio Tinto and Salzgitter will explore optimisation of iron ore pellets, lump and fines for use in hydrogen direct reduction steelmaking. The two companies will also explore the potential for greenhouse gas emission certification across the steel value chain.
Rio Tinto produces iron ore pellets and concentrate at Iron Ore Company of Canada and iron ore lump and fines in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The partnership will focus on the potential use of these products in the SALCOS – Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking program, which is targeting virtually carbon-free steel production, starting step-by-step in 2025 using hydrogen direct reduction.
Rio Tinto chief commercial officer Alf Barrios said Salzgitter had one of the world’s most advanced green steelmaking projects.
“Rio Tinto is excited at the opportunity of supplying our product and combining our technical expertise with that of Salzgitter to help advance the SALCOS project,” he said.
Rio Tinto is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and is targeting a 15 per cent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025 (from a 2018 baseline) and a 50 per cent reduction by 2030. Rio Tinto’s approach to addressing Scope 3 emissions is to engage with its customers on climate change and work with them to develop the technologies to decarbonise.
Under the SALCOS program, Salzgitter’s carbon-based blast furnace route will gradually be replaced from the middle of this decade by direct reduction plants, initially operated by natural gas and then with a steadily increasing proportion of hydrogen.