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UK News Rio Tinto leads the way as miners join race to net zero

03:50  27 october  2021
03:50  27 october  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Mining giant Rio Tinto says it wants its globe-spanning operations to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will spend USbn over the next five years to reduce its carbon footprint. Rio Tinto ’s decision, which follows pressure from investors, puts it in line with Australian business groups and unions and at odds with an Australian government that has devoted itself to attacking the Labor opposition over its commitment to the same net zero target. Its commitment to cut emissions is easier for Rio Tinto than BHP and other big global miners because unlike BHP, it does not mine coal or oil.

Rio Tinto plans to invest billion over the next five years to meet its new climate change targets. Despite the investment chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques has stated, “There is no clear pathway right now for the world to get net zero emissions by 2050.” Rio Tinto , which released its climate change target Deloitte United Kingdom mining and metals leader Tim Biggs agreed with O’Brien, reinforcing that mining companies must see decarbonisation as a business benefit opportunity, not as a cost. “A massive shift towards electrification could change the way employees work, requiring companies to

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Not long ago the notion of hard-nosed institutional investors giving two hoots about the size of a company’s carbon footprint would have been laughable.

Miners were measured on how much iron ore they dug out, how much profit they made, and the size of their dividend. The carbon dioxide emitted as part of the process would not have come into the equation. But times have changed.

Major shareholders are almost as likely to ask what a company is doing to curb its emissions, as ask about its bottom line – and bluechip firms around the world are falling over themselves to burnish their environmental credentials.

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Rio Tinto has lowered its iron ore production forecasts for the year due to labour shortages and delays in completing new mine projects. The mining corporation expects to ship between 320 million and 325 million megatonnes (Mt) of iron ore from its Pilbara operations in Western Australia compared to its previous guidance of 325million to 340million Mt. 'This will ensure we continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders, invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, and make a broader contribution to society, particularly in relation to the drive to net - zero carbon emissions.' Over the last year, the

Rio Tinto Group plans to spend .4 billion building a lithium mine in Serbia, in the latest sign that the biggest miners are pushing into metals poised to benefit from the green-energy transition. The biggest producers are churning out record profits after commodities rallied this year, raising the question of what the industry will do with all the extra cash. Most have been focused on returning money to shareholders through dividends and buybacks -- analysts are expecting more big payouts in the coming weeks, including from Rio itself when the world’s second-biggest miner reports financial results on Wednesday.

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As Boris Johnson prepares to host the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow from Sunday, the race among big corporates to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions is already well under way.

Last week Rio Tinto announced plans to cut carbon emissions by half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050, at a cost of well over £5bn. In doing so it trumped rival BHP which earlier revealed plans to cut emissions by at least 30pc by 2030, before hitting net zero by the middle of the century. Some of the world’s biggest carbon emitters, from FTSE 100 miners Anglo American and Glencore, to oil and gas majors BP and Shell, have already announced their own net zero ambitions.

Here in Australia, which is a massive exporter of fossil fuels, governments have long dragged their heels on climate change. Only yesterday prime minister Scott Morrison pledged to achieve net zero by 2050 – just in the nick of time. He is due to fly to Glasgow tomorrow. However, he said the plan would not include ending Australia’s fossil fuel industry or more ambitious targets for 2030, a key objective of the Cop summit.

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Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO ) and Vale (NYSE: VALE) are the two largest iron ore miners , with their operations diversified in other minerals and metals as well. Rio Tinto ’s iron ore shipments have remained lower compared to Vale, though both companies have seen steady growth in volume sales over recent years. Rio ’s iron ore shipments are likely to see a cumulative increase of 3 million tons in the next 2 years (with a drop in 2019 led by Tropical Cyclone Veronica, and a fire at Cape Lambert A port).

Rio Tinto said it would spend around .5 billion from now until the end of the decade to cut so-called scope one and two emissions -- from mining operations and power consumption. "Governments are setting more ambitious targets and accelerating actions on climate change," a statement said, stressing the firm's need to "stay Rio Tinto 's pledge comes just weeks before a major international climate summit in Glasgow, aimed at decarbonising much of the world by 2050. The 2030 target, which Rio Tinto said was a tripling of its previous aim, will heap pressure on Australia's government to follow suit.

Little wonder, perhaps, given the debate in Australia has been framed by many as a battle between the metropolitan elites of Sydney and Melbourne and blue-collar oil and gas workers in the bush who face losing their jobs. But for all his previous resistance to net zero, Morrison is renowned as a pragmatist who does not want Australia to be left behind as other countries shift to net zero economies.

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Public support has rallied behind doing more to tackle climate change, following the terrible Black Summer bush fires of two years ago. And, just like the bosses of Rio and BHP, he is fully aware that money talks, and that the big money has already spoken. More than 600 investors managing over £43trillion in assets have signed up to Climate Action 100+, a pressure group set up in 2017 to persuade the biggest greenhouse gas emitters to tackle climate change.

China in the focus as miners draw FTSE lower

  China in the focus as miners draw FTSE lower By the end of play on Thursday the FTSE 100 had dropped by 0.5%. The 32.8 point drop led it to 7,190.3.It came as Chinese property giant Evergrande said that an approximately £1.9 billion deal which would have seen property firm Hopson Development take a controlling stake in Evergrande.It reignited fears of a collapse at the debt-ridden Chinese company, which could hit the Chinese construction market.China’s builders use up large portions of the world’s mined natural resources, using masses of steel and cement to build the country’s rapidly expanding cities.

Rio Tinto said Friday that it's decided to reject a .5 billion deal to sell part of itself to China's Aluminium Corp. and announced the launch of a heavily discounted rights issue to raise about .2 billion in gross proceeds. Rio Tinto also said that it will establish a production joint venture with BHP Shares of Carphone Warehouse (CPW) declined 0 .6%. The retailer's fiscal-year net profit jumped to 550 million pounds (2 million), up from 73 million pounds in the prior year. The disposal of 50% of the group's retail and distribution business resulted in a net gain after taxes of 608 million pounds.

Rio Tinto Plc RIO recently announced that it has partnered with leading global energy producer, EDL. Per the deal, EDL will expand an existing solar installation at Rio Tinto ’s Weipa mine in Queensland. Rio Tinto has earmarked approximately billion in investments over the next five years to get its operations down to net zero emissions by 2050. Earlier this month, the company announced that it has teamed up with Caterpillar, Inc. CAT to develop zero-emissions autonomous haul trucks for use at Gudai-Darri, which is Rio Tinto ’s most technically advanced iron ore mine in the Pilbara region

The list of signatories reads like a who’s who of the fund management industry – from BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, to Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, as well as Invesco and Legal & General. They all believe the smart money is on companies which cut emissions and embrace new, greener technologies, whether it be solar energy or hydrogen power. Those which fail to do so will be left behind. Of course, setting a target to achieve net zero is one thing.

Doing it is another. Net zero carbon emissions means removing as much greenhouse gas from the atmosphere as is emitted – by a combination of greener technologies and storing carbon in the ground. Getting to net zero, particularly for miners responsible for between 4pc and 7pc of global greenhouse gas emissions, will not be easy. Rio generates more than 31m tons of carbon emissions a year.

Its chief executive Jakob Stausholm, who will be among those schmoozing at the Glasgow conference, laid out his net zero strategy last week. Billions will be spent on wind energy and particularly solar power, which is not in short supply in the iron ore heartlands of North Western Australia. The goal is to fully electrify the giant mine, rail and port system in the region.

But it faces an even bigger challenge in its global aluminium division which generates 70pc of its emissions. In Queensland and New South Wales its smelters will be largely powered by coal until towards the end of the decade. Rio would require five gigawatts of wind and solar energy to power them. ‘It is a big task, but a do-able challenge,’ Stausholm insists. But big investors will be holding Rio to its promise.

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