Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto has reached a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China’s steel producer Shougang Group to explore low-carbon solutions for the steel industry.

The duo will promote research, design and deployment of decarbonisation tools for the steel value chain.

Under the MoU, Rio Tinto and Shougang will focus on blast furnace (BF) and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) optimisation, low-carbon sintering technology, and carbon capture and utilisation (CCU).

Rio Tinto said in a statement: “This partnership with Shougang underlines Rio Tinto’s strategic commitment to partner with customers on steel decarbonisation pathways and to invest in technologies that could deliver reductions in steelmaking carbon intensity.”

The partners will initially focus on BF slag heat recovery, BOF slag utilisation, CCU and low-carbon sintering technology.

They will use their respective capabilities in technologies, research and development, equipment, processes, logistics and industry coordination to help reduce carbon emissions and the impacts of global climate change.

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The latest agreement builds on the almost three-decade-long trade and technical partner relationship between Rio Tinto and Shougang.

Rio Tinto chief commercial officer Alf Barrios highlighted that steel is a vital material for low-carbon infrastructure and economic growth.

Barrios added: “We are delighted to be able to extend our partnership with Shougang to jointly work towards our shared vision of a ‘greener’ steel value chain.”

Shougang vice-president Wang Jianwei said: “Green and low-carbon transition and upgrading is the only way for high-quality and sustainable development of the steel industry.

“The cooperation between Shougang Group and Rio Tinto Group to develop low-carbon generic technologies for the steel sector and explore decarbonisation solutions is a positive move for both sides to cooperate and promote low-carbon technology innovation.”