Global mining company Rio Tinto has transitioned heavy machinery at its Boron mine in California, US, to renewable diesel, as part of its broader plans to decarbonise its global operations.

Rio Tinto partnered with Finnish renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel supplier Neste for this transition.

All heavy machinery at the Boron mine, from haul trucks to loaders and even blasting equipment, now runs on renewable diesel supplied by Neste.

The move allows the company to reduce the carbon footprint of its fleet while setting a standard for the mining industry.

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By GlobalData

With the switch to renewable diesel complete, the mine becomes the world’s first open-pit mine to have achieved the milestone.

The transition is expected to offset up to 45,000tpa of CO₂ emissions, which is equivalent to taking away approximately 9,600 cars.

Last year, Rio Tinto conducted initial trials of Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel in a haul truck in partnership with Neste and Rolls-Royce.

Neste’s MY Renewable Diesel is claimed to be made from sustainably sourced, 100% renewable raw materials.

This diesel is further claimed to deliver up to 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions during its life cycle compared to conventional fossil diesel.

Trucks that used Neste’s fuel showed similar performance and reliability as compared to those using fossil diesel during the trials.

Rio Tinto Minerals CEO Sinead Kaufman said: “We are proud that our US Borax operations have become the first open-pit mine to operate a fleet running entirely on renewable diesel.

“The transition at Boron is an important first step and will undoubtedly lead to further opportunities to decarbonise our global operations. Renewable diesel is one of several sustainability solutions that Rio Tinto is using to transform its businesses.”

Rio Tinto’s partnership with Neste will help the former reach its decarbonisation goal of achieving a 50% reduction in its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.

The Boron mine is operated by Rio Tinto’s US Borax division.