Rio Tinto (RIO) to Build Solar Power Plant in North Canada

Rio Tinto RIO will build the largest solar power plant in Canada’s northern territories at its Diavik Diamond Mine. This move aligns with RIO’s global decarbonization objectives, which include a 15% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2025, and 50% by 2030. The company has made a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.The plant will feature more than 6,600 solar panels. In addition to direct sunlight, the bi-facial panels will help generate energy from the light that reflects off the snow which covers Diavik for most of the year.The solar power plant, which is expected to be fully operational in the first half of 2024, will add to Diavik’s renewable energy generation, which already features a wind-diesel hybrid power facility with a capacity of 55.4 MW powering the site. The solar plant is expected to generate around 4,200 megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity annually for the mine. It will provide up to 25% of Diavik’s electricity during closure work, which will continue till 2029.  It will cut diesel consumption at the site by approximately one million liters per year. It will also help lower emissions by 2,900 tons of CO2 equivalent, which is almost same as eliminating the emissions of 630 cars.The Diavik mine, which is fully owned by Rio Tinto, is Canada’s largest diamond producer with an annual production capacity of 3.5 to 4.5 million carats of rough diamonds per annum. The mine started operating in 2003 and produced over 100 million carats of diamonds ever since. Commercial production is expected to end in the first quarter of 2026.In 2022, the company’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 30.3Mt CO2e, which was down 2% year over year and marked a reduction of 7% from its 2018 baseline. In the first half of fiscal 2023, RIO’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 15.4 Mt CO2e, 1% lower than the last year’s comparable period. The company has spent $95 million on decarbonization projects in the said period.Rio Tinto plans to invest $7.5 billion in capital between 2022 and 2030 to deliver on its decarbonization strategy. The company has made some advancements in its sustainability efforts during the first half of fiscal 2023. Among these, in April 2023, Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium started BlueSmeltingTM demonstration plant at its metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy. This is a part of the process to validate the ground-breaking BlueSmeltingTM technology, which aims to decarbonize RTIT's Quebec Operations.  The project is part of a partnership between Rio Tinto and the Government of Canada to invest up to C$737 million ($537 million) over the next eight years to decarbonize the Sorel-Tracy facility and to position the business as a center of excellence in critical minerals processing.In June, Rio Tinto announced that its Boron, CA operation has started operating with a fleet running on renewable diesel. This makes it the first open pit mine in the world to manage this feat. Also, during the month, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Baowu, to explore a range of industry-leading new projects in China and Australia in a bid to decarbonize the steel value chain.

Miners are bringing about radical changes to mining operations with the help of technology and automation to increase productivity and efficiency, reduce costs and improve frontline safety. More importantly, these efforts will help the industry reach its sustainability target by cutting down on carbon emissions, which is the need of the hour considering the severity of climate change.BHP Group BHP recently signed a MoU with Toyota Australia, the Australian subsidiary of the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota TM to enhance safety measures and reduce CO2 emissions at the former’s Australian operations. Toyota’s expertise will aid BHP's progress toward its objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.To decarbonize its operations, BHP has plans to electrify its fleet of 5000 light vehicles in Australia.Vale S.A VALE has also set target to reduce Scopes 1 and 2 absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 33% by 2030, and achieve net zero Scopes 1 and 2 emissions by 2050. Till 2022, Vale has achieved a reduction of 27% in CO2 emissions, compared with the 2017 base levels.Earlier this year, Vale successfully tested a new type of iron ore briquette, adapted for the direct reduction route. This marks a solid breakthrough as it will aid the steel industry's efforts to achieve emission reduction targets. The new type of briquette emits about 80% less CO2 compared to pellets in its manufacture. The briquette can also be used as a charge for the blast furnace.

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Matt Earle

Matthew Earle is the Founder of MiningFeeds. In 2005, Matt founded 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 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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