Global miner BHP and Japan's JX Metals have signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue the development of a Green Enabling Partnership aimed at supporting both parties' ambitions of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the copper supply chain and making it more sustainable.
The companies already have a long-standing relationship dating back to 1985 with the commissioning of Escondida, the world's largest copper mine. This relationship has since been strengthened in recent years through various collaboration opportunities.
Notably, BHP has supplied copper concentrates extracted from its mines in Chile to JX Metals' smelters in Japan, and in turn, utilized sulphuric acid produced in the smelting processes for solvent extraction at its Chilean copper mines.
JX Metals is a vertically integrated producer of copper and related metals. Its global business operations cover the full range from mining, smelting and refining to manufacturing and recycling of end-of-life equipment.
Through the Green Enabling Partnership, the companies aim to support the continued development of a responsible copper supply chain through enhancing traceability and material origin verification across industry, from producers to downstream consumers such as copper product manufacturers, as well as the semiconductor, information technology and automobile industries, BHP stated.
In addition, the partnership proposes to advocate for circular economy and GHG emissions reduction through copper concentrates and sulphuric acid supply between both parties, promote knowledge sharing in areas of estimating and reducing carbon footprint of electrolytic copper, and engaging in research and development to support improved material processing and energy efficient smelting operations, it added.
In 2022, Pan Pacific Copper, a member of JX Metal's group, partnered with BHP and Norsepower, a global manufacturer of wind propulsion equipment for shipping, in an effort to reduce carbon emissions from the marine transportation of copper concentrates and sulphuric acid.
"JX Metals' partnerships in the downstream copper supply chain are expanding in scope," JX Metals director and deputy chief executive officer Kazuhiro Hori commented. "Our efforts to produce more sustainable copper are centered on green hybrid smelting at the Saganoseki smelter and refinery, and partnerships with upstream sectors are essential to reduce our Scope 3 GHG emissions reported by JX Metals in copper concentrate production and transportation.
"We will respond to our stakeholders' needs by enhancing our ESG efforts in upstream sectors through this partnership with BHP, a vital responsibility for JX Metals."
BHP's chief commercial officer Vandita Pant added: "At BHP, we pride ourselves on identifying and implementing innovative sustainability. We recognize that solutions are not developed in silos, and partnership and collaboration with our customers and partners across the value chain often bring about the best and most sustainable outcomes in pursuit of these goals.
"We look forward to working with JX Metals on the Green Enabling Partnership that aims to support further GHG emissions reduction in the supply chain for copper, one of the most critical minerals in the journey towards global net zero ambitions."
THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST POSTED ON MINING.COM