Rio Tinto and POSCO to explore methods for decarbonising steel sector

Rio Tinto and South Korea’s largest steelmaker POSCO have announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly explore and develop technologies aimed at decarbonising the steel sector.

The MoU will explore a range of technologies for decarbonisation across the value chain from iron ore mining to steel production. It will see Rio integrate its iron ore processing technology with POSCO’s steelmaking technology.

“The agreement also complements Rio Tinto‘s partnerships with other customers as the industry focusses on developing technologies that support the transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Rio’s chief commercial officer Alf Barrios.

Rio has set an ambitious target to reduce its carbon intensity by a further 30% and absolute emissions by a further 15% by 2030, with the ultimate goal was to be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050.

The world’s second largest miner has huge exposure to the steel industry – one of the world’s heaviest carbon emitters – with 90% of its profits derived from its iron ore production. The steelmaking process involves adding coking coal to iron ore and is responsible for up to 9% of global greenhouse emissions.

Hence, the company has been under increasing pressure to work towards lowering the carbon footprint of the steelmaking industry. In February, Rio addressed its stance on Scope 3 emissions – those generated by customers through the use of its products — by owning its role in how third parties use the commodities it mines.