February 9, 2024

Industry News

Rio Tinto In Partnership with BHP and BlueScope Steel

Australia’s two largest iron ore producers and its biggest steelmaker have partnered in their efforts to accelerate the decarbonisation of steelmaking by agreeing to jointly investigate the development of the country’s first ironmaking electric smelting furnace (ESF) pilot plant.

The collaboration provides a platform to develop and potentially invest in a pilot facility and aims to demonstrate that production of molten iron from Pilbara ores is feasible using renewable power when combined with Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) process technology. If successful, it could help open a potential pathway to near-zero greenhouse gas emission-intensity operations for steelmakers that rely on Australian iron ore to meet global steel demand. If approved, the pilot facility could be commissioned as early as 2027.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said: “The carbon intensity of iron and steelmaking requires profound change to meet the needs of our planet and our climate objectives. We must find better ways to enable these materials to be made more sustainably through leveraging technology.”

BlueScope Chief Executive Australian Steel Products, Tania Archibald, said: “We believe DRI is the most prospective technology to decarbonise our Australian business, and the development of ESF technology is key to unlocking Australia’s unique advantages in this decarbonisation journey – and, more importantly, has the potential for wider adaptation across the global steel industry. We believe that this collaboration where we can contribute BlueScope’s unique experience in operating an ESF will be key to cracking the code for Pilbara ores in low emission-intensity ironmaking.”

For further information, visit the Rio Tinto website: www.riotinto.com