Hydropower

Climate change

Net zero emissions from our operations by 2050

15%

Reduction by 2025

50%

Reduction by 2030 

Net zero

By 2050

We have put the net zero transition at the heart of our business strategy: combining investments in commodities that enable the energy transition with actions to decarbonise our operations and value chains.

2022

Our approach to climate change

Climate Change Report 2022
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2.27 MB
Scope 1, 2 & 3 Emissions Calculations Methodology 2022
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1.32 MB
Industry Association Disclosure 2022
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407 KB

Climate briefing papers

We engage with investor and civil society organisations on our approach to climate advocacy to support the decarbonisation of our operations.

To support this approach, and in line with our commitment to transparency, we are publishing a series of briefing papers on our key emission sources, efforts to decarbonise specific assets and how policy-settings can support our Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction targets which are aligned with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Decarbonising our minerals processing 2023
Decarbonising our minerals processing 2023
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891 KB
Decarbonising our minerals processing 2023 [FR]
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902 KB
Decarbonising our Australian alumina refineries 2023
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2.42 MB

1. Accelerate the decarbonisation of our operations

Due to the scale of our mining operations and processing activities we have significant Scope 1 and 2 emissions. And we know we must address this with urgency to be part of the solution. Between now and 2030, we must switch to renewables at scale and at pace, electrify everything we can, work across our entire value chain, accelerate the development of new technology, and address emissions related to process heat at our alumina refineries and minerals processing operations.

Our goals

To strengthen our alignment with the Paris Agreement and our long-term commitment of achieving net zero emissions by 2050:

  • We aim to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 15% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030
  • We estimate that we will invest $5–6 billion in decarbonisation projects, predominantly in the second half of the decade

Actions we’re taking to Scope 1 and 2 targets

In 2023 we continued to progress our 6 abatement programs, with a capital expenditure of $94 million, focused on the decarbonisation challenge across our business: repowering our Pacific Aluminium operations, renewables, aluminium anodes – ELYSISTM, alumina process heat, minerals processing and diesel transition.

By 2025 we expect to have made financial commitments to abatement projects that will achieve more than 15% of Group emissions. However, our actual emissions abatement will lag this.

We are also increasing our investment in our Nature-based Solutions team and now expect high integrity offsets to play a greater role in our decarbonisation strategy.

Why these actions are important

In contrast to many of our peers, about 80% of our emissions are driven by processing and producing metals and minerals, which are high temperature, hard-to-abate activities. The remaining 20% are from our mining operations.

Our 6 abatement programs are focused on the most significant sources of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions: electricity at 41% (purchased and generated), carbon anodes in aluminium smelting and reductants in titanium dioxide furnaces at 21%, fossil fuels for heat at our processing plants and alumina refineries at 20%, and diesel consumption in our mining equipment and rail fleet at 13%.

Progress in 2023

We made tangible progress on many fronts in 2023, including project commitments that deliver abatement of about 2Mt per year.

So far, we have reduced our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 5.5% below our 2018 baseline. This is a slight decrease since 2022 as emissions from higher production in 2023 exceeded the abatement that our projects delivered that year.

We took the following specific actions in 2023:

  • Spent a total of $425 million on decarbonisation in 2023 (2022: $299 million). We estimate a total capital spend of $5–6 billion over the period 2022–30, including $1.5 billion cumulative spend over the period 2024–26.
  • Signed a power purchase agreement to buy 1.1GW of renewable energy from the Upper Calliope Solar Farm project which could provide part of a solution to repower our 3 Gladstone production assets.
  • Constructed a 5MW solar plant pilot project at Kennecott Copper.
  • Approved, subject to regulatory approvals, a 12.4MW solar photovoltaic system and a 2.1Mwh battery storage system via longterm PPA for Amrun operations.
  • Signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Yindjibarndi Energy Corporation (YEC) to explore opportunities to collaborate on renewable energy projects on Yindjibarndi Country in the Pilbara.
  • Advanced our diesel transition at Boron and Kennecott. Boron became the world’s first open-cut mine to fully transition 100% of its heavy machinery to renewable diesel.
  • Approved the Yarwun Hydrogen Calcination Pilot Demonstration Program.
  • Progressed a double digestion pre-feasibility study at Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL).
  • Commissioned the BlueSmelting™ demonstration plant at Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium Quebec Operations, with the first tonne of pre-reduced ore produced. The project is part of a partnership with the Government of Canada.
  • Continued to develop pilot projects in Madagascar and progressed pre-feasibility and feasibility work for opportunities in South Africa, Guinea, US and Argentina.

2. Develop products and technologies that help our customers decarbonise

We need to tackle our Scope 3 emissions, as we fully appreciate that to thrive in the long term we need to be part of net zero value chains. We are working closely with our customers and others to develop more secure and sustainable value chains and accelerate the development of cleaner production pathways for our products.

Our goals

To work with our customers to tackle full value chain emissions:

  • We will increase research and development of cleaner products
  • We will partner with our customers to help them meet their Scope 1 and 2 emissions goals

Actions we’re taking to tackle Scope 3 emissions

Our approach to addressing Scope 3 emissions is to engage with our customers on climate change and work with them to develop and scale up technologies to decarbonise steel and aluminium production.

Why these actions are important

We have limited control over our Scope 3 emissions, as these come primarily from our customers in Asia while processing our iron ore into steel and bauxite into aluminium. While we have a key role to play, we do not set an overall Scope 3 emissions target as we have limited ability to directly influence the production processes of our customers – or theirs. In addition, because we do not extract fossil fuels, we do not have the option to reduce our Scope 3 emissions by shifting our portfolio away from fossil fuels.

The best way we can tackle Scope 3 emissions is to work through partnerships – with customers, governments, universities and others – to develop the technologies needed to produce low-carbon metals and minerals and help shape demand for low carbon metals and minerals.

Progress in 2023

In 2023, we continued to engage with nearly all our direct iron ore and bauxite customers and worked with them to optimise their current operations and to develop the low-carbon technologies needed to reduce emissions across our value chains.

Iron ore/Steel/Aluminium

  • Progressed partnerships on various low-carbon pathways, including our collaboration with the world’s largest steel producer, Baowu.
  • Completed a feasibility study for the BioIron™ Continuous Pilot Plant and secured a location.
  • Completed an Electric Smelting Furnace concept study with BlueScope.
  • Progressed design of the Baowu Meishan microwave lump drying pilot plant.
  • ELYSIS™ started commissioning activities following completion of construction work and expects to start the first 450kA cell in 2024.
  • Defined potential areas of collaboration to help decarbonise alumina refining with customers, representing 47% of global bauxite sales.

Shipping and procurement

  • Lowered shipping emissions intensity by 37% (relative to 2008 baseline) and introduced 5 liquified natural gas vessels into the fleet in 2023.
  • Completed a 12 month biofuel trial.
  • Completed a study to understand the sources of our procurement-related emissions.

3. Grow production of materials enabling the energy transition

The energy transition will create significant additional demand for our commodities, including copper, lithium and aluminium. We aim to grow in these commodities as well as in the production of high-quality iron ore. This iron ore will support the production of low-carbon steel required for infrastructure for the energy transition and ongoing urbanisation.

Our goals

To capture new growth opportunities in materials with strong low carbon transition-related demand:

  • Our ambition is to increase disciplined capital growth of up to $3.0 billion annually by 2024 to 2025
  • We will seek to grow further in copper and battery materials and bring additional tonnes of high-grade iron ore and low-carbon aluminium to market

Actions we’re taking

We are developing a pipeline of growth options leveraged towards the energy transition while maintaining our absolute commitment to capital discipline.

Why these actions are important

Meeting the incremental demand of the energy transition, and ensuring local supplies of critical minerals globally, deepens our relevance to the world and ensures our long-term profitability.

Progress in 2023

High-grade iron ore

  • Progressed the Simandou high-grade iron ore project in Guinea with our partners. This project will deliver high-grade iron ore.
  • Approved $77 million for a pre-feasibility study to progress the development of the Rhodes Ridge project in the East Pilbara in Western Australia, one of the world’s most attractive undeveloped iron ore deposits.

Aluminium

  • Acquired a 50% equity stake in Matalco from Giampaolo Group. The Matalco joint venture combines the strengths of North America's largest primary and secondary aluminium producers to meet growing demand for low-carbon products.
  • Announced we will invest $1.1 billion to expand our AP60 aluminium smelter equipped with low-carbon technology at the Complexe Jonquière with financial support from the Quebec government.

Copper

  • Started production from the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine in Mongolia, which will make Oyu Tolgoi one of the most important producers of copper in the world.
  • Approved investment to significantly increase production from underground mining at Kennecott. Production is expected to deliver around 250 thousand tonnes of additional mined copper over the next 10 years (2023–33).
  • Formed a joint venture with First Quantum Minerals to unlock the development of the La Granja project in Peru, one of the largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world.

Minerals

  • Progressed development of a 3 thousand tonne per annum lithium carbonate starter plant at the Rincon lithium project with production expected by the end of 2024.
  • Acquired the high-grade Burra™ Scandium Project in New South Wales, Australia. The project could produce up to 40 tonnes of scandium oxide per year

Progress in 2023

  • Total equity greenhouse gas emissions
  • Equity greenhouse gas emissions by location
  • Equity greenhouse gas emissions by product group
  • Sources of total equity greenhouse gas emissions

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