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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - BHP Group on Tuesday laid out its aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 from the operations of its customers by working with them to cut carbon out of their processes.
BHP, the world's biggest miner, has already committed to extinguishing emissions directly from its own operations and lowering its indirect emissions through means such as using more power from renewable sources by then as well.
Steelmaking is one of the world's most heavily polluting industries and the shift to focus on net zero emissions from the use of its raw materials by the sector marks an escalation in its efforts. BHP said its definition of reaching net zero includes the use of carbon offsets.
The miner characterised its aim as an ambitious "goal" rather than a concrete target, since it has yet to determine a specific pathway to reach it.
Steelmaking is expected to be one of the slower sectors to decarbonise because it requires the combustion of carbon and iron at high temperatures, creating carbon dioxide as a byproduct.
Although steelmakers and Australia's iron ore miners are working on the production of carbon-free steel from iron ore, potentially using hydrogen, the process is not expected to become economic until late this decade at the earliest.
"The most significant contributions to our reported Scope 3 inventory come from the emissions generated by steelmaking through the processing of iron ore and metallurgical coal," BHP said.
Those emissions represent 96% of BHP’s total reported emissions, which during last financial year stood at 418.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Tom Hogue)