Australia, Projects, Renewables

Rio Tinto invests $215m in renewables for low-carbon steelmaking

Green Iron, Hydrogen, low-carbon, low-carbon steel making

Mining giant Rio Tinto has invested $215 million to assess its low-carbon ironmaking process, aimed at decarbonising the industry.

The BioIron Research and Development Facility, south of Perth, follows successful trials using raw biomass and microwave energy instead of coal to convert iron ore into metallic iron, potentially reducing emissions by up to 95 per cent.

The new facility will house a pilot plant ten times larger than the previous one in Germany, testing the innovative process at a semi-industrial scale to produce one tonne of direct reduced iron per hour. Data collected will assess scaling the technology.

A collaborative effort with the University of Nottingham, Metso Corporation, and Sedgman Onyx, the plant’s equipment fabrication commences this year for commissioning in 2026, supporting up to 60 construction jobs.
Employing around 30 full-time staff, the facility aims to develop a skilled workforce in steel decarbonisation while supporting local research organisations.

“The world needs low-carbon steel to reach net zero, and we are working to make this a reality by finding better ways to turn our Pilbara ores into steel,” Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott said.

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook said as one of the world’s largest iron ore producers, it “just makes sense for WA to lead the world when it comes to low-emission steelmaking”.

“Our plan to turn WA into a renewable energy powerhouse opens up massive economic opportunities for the future, like producing low-emission steel right here at home,” he said.

Cook added that processing iron ore in WA will create jobs, reduce the world’s carbon emissions and help to diversify and strengthen our economy for decades to come.

“This is another job-creating clean energy project in our industrial heartland of Kwinana and Rockingham, part of our commitment to transitioning the industrial strip to a clean energy future,” he said.

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