2023 CISCE: Joint efforts in metals supply chain to make world greener

2023 CISCE: Joint efforts in metals supply chain to make world greener

BEIJING, Nov 29 (APP): Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer and China Chair said on Wednesday that his company has put net-zero transition at the heart of its business strategy and pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“We have plans to invest USD 7.5 billion by the end of the decade to help deliver this strategy,” he told China Economic Net, at the ongoing China International Supply Chain Expo (CISCE).

“To boost our net zero journey, we have a number of technical engagements and partnerships with our Chinese customers, suppliers, and academic institutions. These partnerships focus both on the short term such as improvements in the current use of our iron ore products – and the longer term where we conduct joint research and development to improve performance and reduce carbon emissions,” he added.

Barrios believes that the exploration of green technology by Chinese steel companies has allowed his company to see the potential for further cooperation between the two parties. “For Rio Tinto, the products we produce, like high-grade iron ore, copper and aluminum are critical to drive decarbonization. We are also planning to grow in other materials that enable the low-carbon transition.”

Rio Tinto also showcased its START? brand – a key technology for sustainable supply chain during the CISCE. “The START? provides traceability, transparency, and assurance, and helping our customers and end users make better material choices with the help of blockchain technology,” said Barrios.

The green transformation of the supply chain is inseparable from the joint efforts of all parties around the world. Rio Tinto’s largest single shareholder, CHINALCO, has made successful explorations on different tracks as well. The carbon emissions of recycled aluminum are only about 5-6 percent of that of primary aluminum. For the traditional aluminum industry with high energy consumption, the energy saving and emission reduction effect could be extremely significant.

At present, CHINALCO has established automobile sheets closed-loop recycling system with more than 10 partners to improve the use efficiency of recycled aluminum,” a CHINALCO staff told, “Based on our existing 160,000-ton recycled aluminum production line, a new recycled aluminum pretreatment and casting line is expected to be put into production in 2024.”

In 2022, China’s recycled aluminum output has reached 8.65 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 8.13 percent, achieving a reduction of 95.15 million tons of carbon emissions. At the same time, recycled aluminum accounts for 17.7 percent of total aluminum production, which could be said to have broad room for development. Compared with virgin aluminum, every ton of recycled aluminum raw materials can reduce solid waste emissions by 20 tons and reduce carbon emissions by about 95 to 98 percent.

According to Barrios, it is a matter of the utmost urgency to promote the green transformation of traditional mining industry.
“We established the China Technology and Innovation Centre in Beijing two years ago and are currently making good progress. In June this year, it signed an agreement with Sichuan University to jointly carry out innovative research on carbon dioxide mineralization processes and is committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and solid waste production. The green transformation of traditional mining cannot be separated from the joint efforts of international partners.”

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