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Anglo American South Africa management board chairperson Nolitha Fakude.

Anglo American South Africa management board chairperson Nolitha Fakude.

A newly launched emission-reducing ship has loaded its first cargo of iron-ore from Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore operations in South Africa.

The vessel is the first of ten liquefied natural gas (LNG) dual-fuelled new-build ships that Anglo will introduce to its chartered fleet during the course of 2023 and 2024, delivering an estimated 35% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with ships fuelled by conventional marine oil fuel.

“The metals and minerals we provide play an important role in helping key industries decarbonise. Transporting them in a sustainable way is a key part of this effort and the introduction of the Ubuntu fleet,” Anglo South Africa management board chairperson Nolitha Fakude stated in a release to Mining Weekly.

Anglo has established a framework of initiatives for the decarbonisation of its maritime activities, including energy saving devices fitted to existing vessels, the use of voyage optimisation software, and a focus on exploring, trialling and adopting alternative, sustainable fuel options, such as liquefied natural gas, sustainable biofuel, green methanol and ammonia, and – further down the line – hydrogen.

The use of LNG is also expected to lead to a significant reduction of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from vessel exhausts, while new technology also eliminates the release of unburnt methane.

The dual-fuelled Capesize+ vessel, the Ubuntu Harmony, is part of an ambition to achieve carbon-neutrality for controlled ocean freight by 2040, with an interim target to reduce emissions from these activities by 30% by 2030. This is all part of a wider ambition to halve Scope 3 emissions by 2040.

“This milestone cements our vision to be a leader in low carbon shipping, a natural extension of our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040,” said Anglo marketing business CEO Peter Whitcutt.

Ubuntu Harmony, a 190 000 t bulk carrier, flagged in Singapore, is designed to be larger than, but as flexible as, a conventional Capesize vessel. The vessel was built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and is owned by U-Ming Marine Transport.

It completed bunkering in Singapore in early January with fuel provided by Shell Eastern LNG. It arrived in Saldanha Bay, South Africa on 19 January to load a full cargo of iron-ore that will be transported to customers in China. The Ubuntu Harmony will be followed by its sister ship Ubuntu Equality, the fleet’s second vessel, which is expected to load her first cargo in February in South Africa.