Rio Tinto (RIO) Builds Solar Power Plant at Diavik Mine

Rio Tinto RIO has completed the construction of a 3.5-megawatt solar power plant at its Diavik Diamond Mine. It is the largest off-grid solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories. This initiative aligns with RIO’s global decarbonization objectives, which include a 50% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030 and achievement of net-zero emissions by 2050.In line with this, RIO also announced plans to build two new 5.25MW solar farms in Gumatj and Rirratjingu country on the Gove Peninsula in Australia’s Northern Territory. They are expected to reduce the region’s annual diesel consumption by about 20% and lower annual carbon emissions by more than 12,000 tons.The solar plant at Diavik is equipped with 6,620 solar panels. In addition to harnessing direct sunlight, these bi-facial panels will generate energy from the light reflected off the snow that covers Diavik for the major part of the year. The plant is expected to generate around 4.2 million kilowatt-hours of carbon-free electricity annually.  It will cut diesel consumption at the site by approximately 1 million liters per year. The plant is expected to lower emissions by 2,900 tons of CO2 equivalent, which is almost the same as eliminating the emissions of 630 cars.The solar power plant adds to Diavik’s efforts to boost renewable energy generation at the site. It already features a wind power plant that is the largest wind power installation in Northern Canada. The wind plant has generated more than 195 million kilowatt-hours of electricity since it started operating in 2012, cutting 118,000 tons of CO2 emissions and saving the equivalent of 43.4 million liters of diesel fuel.In 2023, Rio Tinto’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 32.6Mt CO2e, which marked a reduction of 5.5% from its 2018 baseline. The company spent $130 million on decarbonization projects during 2023.Rio Tinto plans to invest capital in the range of $5- $6 billion by 2030 to deliver on its decarbonization strategy. The company has made some advancements in its sustainability efforts during the first half of fiscal 2024.Recently, the company announced that it is set to install carbon-free aluminum smelting cells at its Arvida smelter in Québec, Canada, utilizing the first technology license issued by the ELYSIS joint venture. The groundbreaking ELYSIS technology aims to eliminate all direct greenhouse gases from the conventional aluminum smelting process, by producing oxygen as a byproduct, while improving efficiency by producing more aluminum at lower costs.Rio Tinto is also investing $143 million to develop a research and development facility in Western Australia to test the effectiveness of its breakthrough low-carbon ironmaking process, BioIron.In May 2024, Rio Tinto and BHP Group BHP joined forces to trial large battery-powered haul trucks manufactured by Caterpillar CAT and Komatsu KMTUY in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The trials will kick off in the second half of 2024 with two Cat 793 haul trucks. This will be followed by two Komatsu 930 haul trucks in 2026. BHP will trial the Caterpillar trucks, while Rio Tinto will test the Komatsu trucks. This collaboration between two leading global miners with two of the world’s largest haul truck manufacturers also seeks to address the critical challenge of zero-emissions haulage.BHP Group is also pursuing its long-term goal of net zero Scope 3 GHG emissions by 2050. The company expects to cut down operational GHG emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.In fiscal 2023, BHP spent $122 million on initiatives associated with emission reductions, in areas such as steelmaking and shipping. From fiscal 2024 to 2030, the company expects to spend around $4 billion on operational decarbonization, with plans reflecting an annual capital allocation between approximately $250 million and $950 million per year over the next five years.

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In the past year, shares of Rio Tinto have gained 4.7% against the industry’s 2.4% decline.Rio Tinto currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

By Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded MiningNerds.com to provide data and information to the mining investment community. This site was merged with Highgrade Review to form MiningFeeds. Matt has a B.Sc. degree with a minor in geology from the University of Toronto.

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