Rio Tinto U.S. Borax becomes first open pit mine to transition to renewable diesel
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BORON, Calif. ~ Rio Tinto has achieved a major milestone in Boron, California, becoming the first open pit mine in the world to transition its heavy machinery from fossil diesel to renewable diesel. This change is expected to reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by up to 45,000 tonnes per year, which is comparable to eliminating the annual emissions of approximately 9,600 cars.

Sinead Kaufman, Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Minerals, said: "We are proud that our U.S. Borax operations have become the first open pit mine to operate a fleet running entirely on renewable diesel. This is an excellent example of what happens when internal and external partners collaborate toward a carbon reduction goal. Support from the state of California has also been incredibly important, as without their vision, this would not have been possible."

The transition began with an initial trial conducted through 2022 in partnership with Neste and Rolls-Royce. During this trial, Rio Tinto U.S. Borax used Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ which is made from sustainably sourced raw materials such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75% over the life cycle of the fuel compared to fossil diesel*. The results showed that a truck running on renewable diesel delivered similar performance and reliability as trucks running on conventional diesel.

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Based on these positive results, Rio Tinto U.S. Borax continued working with Rolls-Royce, Neste, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of California to fully transition its heavy machinery fleet onsite to renewable diesel at the end of May 2023. This transition includes all heavy machinery from haul trucks to loaders and even blasting equipment being powered by renewable diesel fuel sources.

This conversion supports Rio Tinto's global decarbonization objectives which include a 50 per cent reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030 and a commitment to reach net zero by 2050; carbon emissions from mobile fleets and rail accounted for 13% of its Scope 1 & 2 emissions in 2022 according to estimates from Rio Tinto itself.

A briefing paper on Rio Tinto's approach towards transitioning away from fossil fuels will be published on in the third quarter as agreed upon prior to their 2023 Annual General Meetings; this paper will provide further insight into their plans for decarbonization moving forward into 2024 and beyond.
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