PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner Rio Tinto has set out its production growth and decarbonisation targets in an investor seminar.
The miner told investors this week that the energy transition was expected to add as much as 25% in new demand above traditional sources on a copper equivalent basis across the group's key products by 2035.
The miner is targeting investment of up to $3-billion a year in growth to meet this demand, including the Oyu Tolgoi copper, Rincon lithium and Simandou iron-ore projects.
“Meeting the incremental demand of the energy transition and ensuring local supplies of critical minerals globally deepens our relevance in the world and provides new opportunities. We are working hard to decarbonise our assets and products, as we invest to grow in materials needed for the energy transition,” said CEO Jakob Stausholm.
“The quality of our assets, resilience of cashflows and strength of our balance sheet ensure we are well positioned to continue to invest with discipline for the long term and deliver attractive returns to our shareholders throughout the cycle.”
Rio has set a target of halving its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030, and reaching net zero by 2050.
Six large emissions abatement programmes are focused on renewable power, process heat, diesel and the ELYSIS zero carbon aluminium smelting technology to drive the transition to net zero by 2050, supported by high-quality nature-based solutions, the miner said.
Investments of around $7.5-billion are expected between 2022 and 2030, including around $1.5-billion over the next three years which will be back-end dated. Investments are being prioritised and phased in the most logical way, with consideration for near-term work around energy inputs and attractive economics.
New long-term power contracts will also be required for the aluminium business to meet targets. Incremental operating expenditure on building new teams and energy efficiency initiatives remains around $200-million a year, in addition to research and development investment.
“We are now creating real momentum, to build a stronger Rio Tinto that is a platform for delivering long-term value. From evolving our culture, to operational improvements, a different approach on cultural heritage, and technology breakthroughs to address climate change and a changing customer environment, we are seeing early results that give us conviction we have the right objectives, the right team, and the right strategy. This is all captured in our newly defined purpose: finding better ways to provide the materials the world needs,” Stausholm said.
Meanwhile, the company has also set a production guidance for 2023, noting that Pilbara iron-ore shipments of 320-million to 335-million tonnes are expected in 2023, with mid-term capacity remaining at 345-million to 360-million tonnes.
Bauxite production expectations have remained unchanged on the 2022 figures, at between 54-million and 57-million tonnes, while both alumina and aluminium productions have increased to between 7.7-million and 8-million tonnes, and between 3.1-million and 3.3-million tonnes respectively.
Mined copper production is targeted at between 550 000 t and 600 000 t for the 2023 financial year, with refined copper production targeted at between 180 000 t and 210 000 t.
Copper C1 costs for the full year have been estimated at between 160c/lb and 180c/lb, while iron-ore production in the Pilbara will cost between $21/t and $22.50/t.