Rio Tinto, Marubeni team up to create transparent aluminum supply chains

Australia miner Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO; LSE: RIO; NASDAQ: RIO) and Japanese conglomerate Marubeni are teaming up to secure a sustainable and […]
Rio Tinto and Marubeni have teamed up to create responsible aluminum supply chains for Japanese customers. Rio Tinto photo

Australia miner Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO; LSE: RIO; NASDAQ: RIO) and Japanese conglomerate Marubeni are teaming up to secure a sustainable and reliable supply of Rio Tinto’s responsible aluminum products to downstream Japanese manufacturers. The first sale is a batch of Rio’s RenewAl high-purity aluminum from the renewably powered New Zealand Aluminum Smelters to a major Japanese motorcycle manufacturer. This is part of a commitment to reduce carbon emissions throughout its supply chains and manufacturing.

The new partnership combines Rio Tinto’s suite of responsible aluminium products – which include RenewAl, the industry’s first certified low carbon aluminium; aluminium stewardship initiative (ASI) certified aluminium; and the digital traceability platform START – with Marubeni’s extensive trading network, commercial capability and carbon credit mechanism, Neutr-Al, which will be offered as part of the collaboration.

The agreement is the first of its kind in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. It is focused on providing downstream industry with a simple, integrated way to achieve ESG-related goals and requirements, such as reducing carbon footprints, disclosing lifecycle assessment, and sourcing responsibly. It will also provide strong long-term security of supply at a time of growing supply-chain risks.

Rio Tinto operates some of the most technically advanced aluminum operations in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. The company runs an aluminum refinery, five wholly owned smelters, six hydropower plants, a research and development centre at Arvida, an aluminum operations centre, a rail network, and one port.

In 2018, Rio launched Elysis, a partnership with Alcoa, to develop breakthrough technology that eliminates direct GHG emissions from aluminum smelters by using pure oxygen. The first Elysis carbon-free aluminum was produced in 2021, and work continues towards the demonstration of larger, commercial-sized cells this year. Construction of the first such prototype cells has begun at Rio’s Alma smelter.

Read more about Rio’s aluminum operations in British Columbia as well as Quebec, by clicking here.

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