Outokumpu targets low-carbon chrome, moly

Staff reporter

Finland’s Outokumpu is trumpeting the use of “renewable diesel” as a cornerstone of its plan to make the Kemi chrome mine carbon-neutral by 2025. It spent €280 million deepening Kemi, Europe’s only chrome mine, between 2017 and 2023.

Stainless steel producer Outokumpu says it will replace conventional fuels used in mining equipment, trains and power generators with Espoo-based Neste’s fuels, produced from recycled materials such as used cooking oil and animal fat from food industry waste.

“The carbon neutrality of the Kemi mine is an investment worth millions of euros and when realised, it will mean a reduction of almost 40 million kilograms in Outokumpu’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said the company’s vice-president, sustainability, Heidi Peltonen.

“The three key factors of the Kemi mine’s carbon neutrality are giving up fossil fuels, utilising low-emission electricity, and replacing natural and propane gas in heating. As a first step, we switch to renewable fuels and aim to identify all possibilities to decrease emissions from the entire value chain – to get as close to zero in our total emissions as possible.

“We are also studying the opportunities for compensating the remaining emissions in our value chain that cannot be otherwise reduced with current technology.

“Our goal is to make the Kemi mine the world’s first operating carbon-neutral mine by 2025.”

Neste VP marketing and services Joni Pihlstom said the deal with Outokumpu was the company’s “most extensive cooperation with the mining and steel industry in Europe so far”.

The Nasdaq and Helsinki-listed Neste, which generated €25.7 billion of revenue last year, refines waste and residues into renewable fuels and feedstock for plastics. It says it is the world’s leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.

Meanwhile, Outokumpu has signalled “support” for Canada’s Greenland Resources and its Malmbjerg molybdenum project in east Greenland via a letter of intent.

Outokumpu said it was an “interested future customer” of Greenland Resources and its proposed US$820 million project. A 2022 definitive feasibility study outlined a plan for a 20-year openpit mine producing more than 30 million pounds a year of molybdenum.

Europe is the second largest molybdenum user worldwide and has no production of its own.

Outokumpu said Malmbjerg’s project blueprint promised “a low footprint due to modularised infrastructure, low CO2 emissions, low aquatic disturbance and clean contained tailings”.

“The transport of 35,000 tonnes of ore per day uses a gravity-based aerial rope conveyor that requires no energy and therefore causes no carbon emissions and generates electricity from braking,” it said.


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