The potential of steel decarbonization in China presents massive opportunities for global mining companies like Rio Tinto, and the company is committed to broadening its cooperation with China beyond trade to exploration, joint ventures, and research and development for low-carbon solutions along the steel value chain, a top company official said.
China's green transition offers Rio Tinto a substantial opportunity for further cooperation between the two sides, said Jakob Stausholm, CEO of Rio Tinto, the world's largest iron ore producer, on the sidelines of the ongoing sixth China International Import Expo on Monday.
As the world's largest steel producer, China has a huge demand for iron ore, the raw material for steelmaking, which is also one of the major industries producing carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is looking to explore potential collaborations and partnerships with Chinese partners to enhance its business in the mining and resource sector, he said.
"The Chinese market is fundamental for Rio Tinto and other international mining companies, as over 50 percent of steelmaking is done in the market," said Stausholm.
"It's absolutely critical and also very clear that Rio Tinto would not be what it is today if it hadn't been for China's significant industrial development of the past few decades," he said.
An analyst said mining companies have been stepping up investment and local cooperation in China for more green opportunities in recent years.
Global miners are motivated to collaborate with Chinese partners to help develop technologies for carbon reduction in their production, said Luo Zuoxian, head of intelligence and research at the Sinopec Economics and Development Research Institute.
Enhanced cooperation between domestic mills and overseas suppliers, in return, will further boost the carbon reduction progress from the raw material side and through to the production process, Luo said.
According to Stausholm, Rio Tinto has been investing heavily in recent years in R&D projects related to reducing carbon emissions of current steelmaking processes as well as technologies for the future of steelmaking in China.
According to the company, it inked an agreement this year with State-owned China Baowu Steel Group — the world's top steelmaker — to explore a range of industry-leading projects in China and Australia to help decarbonize the steel value chain. It has also teamed up with Tsinghua University for the past 11 years on a joint research center to deliver leading research findings and policy proposals in sustainable development.
"China's commitment to fulfilling its dual-carbon goals aligns with our ambitions. China is, and will always be, an important pillar for our future," Stausholm said. chinadaily.com.cn