Rio Tinto and the Salzgitter Group have signed an MoU to work together towards carbon-free steelmaking by studying the optimisation of Rio Tinto’s high-quality Canadian and Australian iron ore products for use in Salzgitter’s SALCOS green steel project in Germany.
Under the MOU, Rio Tinto and Salzgitter will explore the optimisation of iron ore pellets, lump and fines for use in hydrogen direct reduction steelmaking. The two companies will also explore the potential for greenhouse gas emission certification across the steel value chain.
Rio Tinto produces iron ore pellets and concentrates at Iron Ore Company of Canada and iron ore lump and fines in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The partnership will focus on the potential use of these products in the SALCOS® – Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking programme, which is targeting virtually carbon-free steel production, starting step-by-step in 2025 using hydrogen direct reduction.
Rio Tinto is committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and is targeting a 15% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2025 (from a 2018 baseline) and a 50% reduction by 2030. Rio Tinto’s approach to addressing Scope 3 emissions is to engage with its customers on climate change and work with them to develop the technologies to decarbonise.
Under the SALCOS program, Salzgitter’s carbon-based blast furnace route will gradually be replaced from the middle of this decade by direct reduction plants, initially operated by natural gas and then with a steadily increasing proportion of hydrogen.
Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, said, “Salzgitter has one of the world’s most advanced green steelmaking projects. Rio Tinto is excited at the opportunity of supplying our product and combining our technical expertise with that of Salzgitter to help advance the SALCOS project.”
Ulrich Grethe, Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH Chairman of the Management Board, said, “With this alliance, we want to combine the knowledge of both companies to make further progress with low-carbon steel production.”