Rio Tinto, two others sign deal to explore low-carbon iron in Canada

Rio Tinto has agreed to explore production of a low-carbon steel feedstock in Canada, the global miner said on Tuesday, as part of its strategy to reduce carbon emissions.

The miner said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Luxembourg-based engineering firm Paul Wurth S.A. and German steelmaker SHS-Stahl-Holding-Saar GmbH & Co. KGaA. (

The companies will explore the viability of transforming iron ore pellets into low-carbon hot briquetted iron (HBI), a low-carbon steel feedstock, using green hydrogen generated from hydro-electricity in Canada, Rio said.

Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), in which Rio holds a majority stake, will supply high-grade iron ore for the project, with a feasibility study for potential industrial scale low-carbon iron production scheduled to be completed in late 2021.

As a part of Rio’s climate strategy, the partnership will “support the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies for hard-to-abate processes like steelmaking,” IOC President and Chief Executive Clayton Walker said.

Last December, Rio unveiled plans to invest $10 million in low-carbon steelmaking projects over the next two years in an effort to fight climate change along with China Baowu Steel Group.