Interview with Lina Arbeláez, Head of Decarbonisation Ventures, Anglo American

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Anglo American, a leading global mining company, as a Platinum Sponsor of the Raw Materials Summit 2023! Anglo American products are the essential ingredients in almost every aspect of modern life. The company is currently delivering a sustainable mining plan that aims to foster innovation and enable step-change results across the entire mining value chain.

In this interview with EIT RawMaterials, Lina Arbeláez, the Head of Decarbonisation Ventures at Anglo American, talks about her team’s steel decarbonisation innovation challenge, and the broader initiatives that will help the company’s operations become carbon neutral by 2040.

Lina is a speaker at the Raw Materials Summit 2023 during the panel “Stories of breakthrough materials innovation” on Wednesday the 17. May 2023 at 14.45.

Why is a European Raw Materials Summit important to Anglo American?

As a leading global mining company that provides many of the future-enabling metals and minerals for a more sustainable world, the Summit presents a great opportunity for us to connect with science and technology players in the materials ecosystem, and to support innovation that is so critical to the green transition.

Why did Anglo-American become a Platinum Sponsor of the Raw Materials Summit 2023?

We have a longstanding relationship with EIT RawMaterials and have attended previous Summits, but this year we particularly wanted to sponsor the summit to help raise awareness about our “Steel Decarbonisation Innovation Challenge”, managed in partnership with EIT RawMaterials. The challenge actively seeks out start-ups and spin-outs with solutions to decarbonize the steel value chain for investment, and commercial and technical partnership, with Anglo American. By leveraging our industrial experience and broad network of relationships, we aim to help scale potential solutions from ideas through to actual implementation.

We’re now looking to use the Summit to meet early applicants to the challenge, and to encourage more before it closes on 22 May – please do apply here!

You are a panellist of “Stories of breakthrough materials innovation.” What will be your main message?

We use a range of innovative practices and the latest technologies to discover new resources and to mine, process, move and market our products to our customers – safely and sustainably. During the panel I will specifically talk about Anglo American’s Decarbonisation Ventures fund, the portfolio of materials innovators we have already invested in, and the way in which collaboration between the mining industry and materials-focused start-ups – as facilitated by initiatives such as our innovation challenge – can lead to technological breakthroughs.

What is Anglo American doing differently to develop its own globally leading disruptive technologies within the mining sector?

We are delivering a range of initiatives in line with our purpose of re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives. To reduce the emissions from our operations – where we want to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 – we launched a pilot of nuGenTM, the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck, last year, and we are currently developing Envusa Energy, a regional renewable energy ecosystem in South Africa with 600MW of wind and solar projects in the first phase. In the Scope 3 emissions space – where our ambition is to achieve a 50% reduction by 2040 – we are also rolling-out a range of projects. This includes commercial partnerships with companies developing shipping and green steel technologies, but also efforts such as our innovation challenge.

What would be your message about decarbonisation to leading global mining companies?

Mining’s critical enabling role in providing the metals and minerals needed for a low carbon world is increasingly recognised. Our industry must however recognise our responsibility to understand the impacts of our businesses, to minimise our footprints and to maximise our decarbonisation efforts. Doing so is right for the long-term sustainability of our industry, and the right thing for society.

What are the most important steps the raw materials industry in Europe must undertake to meet the demands of the green transition?

The growing global demand for materials puts climate targets at risk unless associated emissions decline. The raw materials industry in Europe has a critical role to play in reducing these emissions and should look to build partnerships of relevant actors – whether from the private, public or academic sectors – in order to originate innovation that can be implemented to help decarbonisation at sufficient scale.

What is the most significant factor that Anglo America welcomes, and what could be further considered within the CRMA?

Anglo American broadly welcomes the CRMA proposal and its underlying goals of improving resilience of CRM supply chains and reducing dependencies, both of which are of crucial importance for the EU to facilitate its twin green and digital transitions. It is important that the Critical Raw Materials Act recognises not only critical but also strategic minerals. Further, the Commission’s proposal to grant ‘Strategic Project’ status to qualified mining and processing projects, which can then benefit from streamlined permitting and enabling conditions for access to finance, is very significant, particularly because it recognises that such projects are in the public interest. Having said that, we look forward to seeing how the proposal develops and what implementation will look like in detail. As the Act aims to strengthen all stages of the European critical raw materials value chain, we would for instance like to see more on incentivising exploration activities to ensure a sufficient pipeline leading to the (strategic) projects that will enable the EU to meet the targets outlined in the Act.

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