Nippon Steel, Rio Tinto to develop low-carbon steel technologies

Japan’s Nippon Steel and Australia’s Rio Tinto signed a memorandum of understanding to research and develop technologies for low-carbon emission steel, both companies said Dec. 16, creating a tie-up between a major steelmaker and an iron ore producer.

“With this MoU, Nippon Steel and Rio Tinto are looking to enhance their long-standing relationship by extending it into new areas in support of the shared goal of significantly reducing carbon emissions across the entire steel value chain,” they said.

Citing the objectives of the MoU, Nippon Steel noted the technologies will cover “decarbonization of the entire steel value chain from iron ore mining to steelmaking, including integrating Nippon Steel’s steelmaking technology and Rio Tinto’s iron ore processing technology to establish an innovative steel manufacturing process with low carbon emissions.”

The MoU comes after the Japanese steelmaker joined a group in July to develop technology to produce paraxylene from carbon dioxide.

Nippon Steel owns a total crude steel production capacity of about 52 million mt/year through 15 blast furnaces located across Japan, while Rio Tito produced and shipped about 326.7 million mt and 327.4 million mt of iron ore, respectively, from its Pilbara operations in 2019.

— Clement Choo