Arm holding out blueberries

Partnering to innovate

Smart Partnerships

We are always open to new ideas about the best way to share value from mining projects in a way that preserves and grows investor returns, creates lasting value for host governments and communities and provides the metals the world needs in an environmentally sustainable way.

To do this, we forge innovative partnerships with technology partners, local suppliers, governments, community groups, industry leaders and NGOs.

In 2018, we announced ELYSIS, a pioneering partnership with Alcoa, supported by Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec. This joint venture will further develop a revolutionary process that eliminates direct GHG emissions from the aluminium smelting process, replacing them with pure oxygen. The technology will be developed and licensed for use in both existing and new smelters and is expected to be ready for commercial sale in 2024.

We are founders and active members of industry stewardship programmes such as the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), and are the only aluminium producer to have our product ASI-certified as responsible throughout its life cycle. Focusing on responsible production and supply also allows us to innovate and improve performance. Our Aluminium business, for example, has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the industry and produces RenewAl™, a low-carbon aluminium brand.

In 2020, our Kennecott operations in the US and Oyu Tolgoi operations in Mongolia became the first in the world to be awarded the Copper Mark, the industry’s first and only independent assurance programme – verifying the copper is responsibly produced. Originally developed by the International Copper Association with input from stakeholders including customers, NGOs and producers, the Copper Mark assures the copper meets the highest environmental and social standards, including a transparent and responsible supply chain.

We also partner with a range of organisations to ensure the integrity and reliability of our diamonds, from our mines to the market. Our reputation as a business is tied to the practices of everyone who touches our diamonds, and therefore working with others to create a responsible supply chain is critical. We are a founding member of the Natural Diamond Council (formerly the Diamond Producers Association), the first organisation to represent diamond producers at an international level. The Natural Diamond Council supports the development of the diamond sector and works to maintain and improve consumer confidence in diamonds.

Diavik rough diamonds

We are also a founding member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). This industry organisation promotes responsible, ethical, social and environmental practices throughout the diamond, gold and platinum jewellery supply chain. And we have taken an active leadership role in the World Diamond Council (WDC), which represents the diamond industry in the Kimberley Process and has established a mechanism for guaranteeing to consumers that diamonds are conflict free.

In 2019, we partnered with China’s largest steel producer, China Baowu Steel Group, and Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious and influential universities, to work on a joint action plan to explore ways to improve environmental performance across the steel value chain. The steel industry accounts for 7-9% of the world’s carbon emissions, according to the World Steel Association. We will combine our strengths on everything from research and development, technologies, processes, equipment, logistics, industry coordination and policy advisory capacities to bring together solutions to help address the steel industry’s carbon footprint.

We also work with the world’s leading technology institutions – like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics – to make our operations safer and more productive.

Finding Ways to Reduce Bauxite Waste

As part of a European-funded removal project involving 37 members (universities, experts, other businesses), we are trialing methods for converting bauxite residue – known as red mud – into aggregates that can be used to make other products, such as concrete, tiles and insulation. The partnership between our Aluminium and Closure teams and other European experts is one example of collaborating to find innovative solutions to shared challenges. If successful, this could reduce the environmental impact of bauxite processing while also delivering commercial benefits.

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