Volvo Group, Rio Tinto partner on low-carbon materials, autonomous hauling

By Becky Schultz15 September 2022

The recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has created a strategic partnership in which global mining and metals giant Rio Tinto will supply Volvo Group with responsibly sourced, low-carbon products and solutions, and with the companies working collaboratively to decarbonize Rio Tinto’s operations through piloting of Volvo Group sustainable autonomous hauling solutions.

Rio Tinto carbon-free aluminium ELYSIS is a technology company created through a partnership between Rio Tinto and Alcoa to produce aluminium using the ELYSIS zero-carbon smelting technology. (Photo: Rio Tinto)

The multi-materials partnership aims to secure supplies of materials including lithium, low-carbon aluminium, copper and metallics to enable Rio Tinto to progress sustainability commitments in its operations and supply chains, and to support Volvo Group’s ambition towards a net-zero future.

The companies will work together to strengthen the supply of responsibly sourced low-carbon materials such as:

  • RenewAl aluminium, which Rio Tinto said is the world’s first certified low CO2 primary aluminium brand;
  • aluminium produced using the ELYSIS zero-carbon smelting technology;
  • and Aluminium Stewardship Initiative-certified aluminium and Copper Mark certified copper;

The companies will also explore product development opportunities such as the supply of lithium for batteries.

The autonomous hauling solution to be piloted at Rio Tinto sites is offered by Volvo Autonomous Solutions and is based on Transport as a Service (TaaS). It includes a vehicle purpose-built for autonomous operation, a virtual driver, required infrastructure, operations and uptime support, as well as a cloud solution that controls the transport system and manages logistics and flow, Volvo Group noted.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said the partnering with Volvo Group will progress Rio Tinto’s contribution to a net-zero future, delivering “sustainable outcomes from the mine to the showroom floor.” It will include “working together to support the decarbonization of Rio Tinto’s operations and deliver low-carbon materials for use in Volvo’s innovative product range, including electric and autonomous vehicles.”

Martin Lundstedt, Volvo president and CEO, said the partnership will be a “true collaboration aiming to accelerate our ambitions towards a fossil-free, decarbonized future.”

“By addressing the full value chain, from the use of low-carbon materials in our products, to providing our customers with sustainable autonomous hauling solutions, we can contribute to a better and more sustainable future,” he added.

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