(Yicai) Nov. 3 -- As the world's largest producer and consumer of steel, China is a great partner to explore decarbonization technologies and help the steel industry’s low-carbon transformation, according to the chief commercial officer of mining giant Rio Tinto Group.
“China is leading green technology development in multiple areas globally and we see great potential for further collaboration,” Alf Barrios, who is also chairman for China of Rio Tinto, told Yicai.
Since 1973, Rin Tinto has provided China with over 3.5 billion tons of iron ores and other metal minerals, Barrios noted. “In recent years, we have broadened our cooperation with China beyond trade to exploration, joint ventures, research and development, talent development and climate change,” he added.
During the upcoming sixth China International Import Expo, Rio Tinto will exhibit its latest decarbonization technologies, including the cutting-edge application of BioIron, a steelmaking process that uses biomass instead of coking coal as a reducing agent in steel smelting and turning iron ores from the Pilbara region of Western Australia into metallic iron via microwave energy.
Established in 1873, London-based Rio Tinto has partnered with multiple Chinese steelmakers to jointly work on plans to reduce carbon emissions.
In June, Rio Tinto and China Baowu Steel Group, the world's largest steelmaker by sales, inked a memorandum of understanding to explore a range of new projects in China and Australia to help decarbonize the steel value chain.
The projects include building a pilot-scale electric melter at one of Baowu's steel mills in China to enable low-carbon steelmaking, optimizing pelletization technology for Australian ores, expanding the development of Baowu's hydrogen-enriched carbon cycle and oxygen furnace technology that can mitigate carbon emissions, and studying opportunities for producing low-carbon iron in Western Australia.
“This MoU aims to address one of the biggest challenges faced by the industry -- developing a low-carbon pathway for low-to-medium grade iron ores, which account for the vast majority of global iron ore supply,” Barrios said at that time.
Rio Tinto also signed a deal with China's Sichuan University on June 5 to conduct innovative research on carbon mineralization techniques that would enable the British-Australian firm to reduce its carbon footprint and solid waste disposal.
In 2008, Shining Prospect, a unit of Aluminum Corporation of China, acquired a 12 percent stake in Rio Tinto for USD14 billion, becoming its largest shareholder.
Editors: Dou Shicong, Martin Kadiev