BHP issues first tender for gas-powered iron ore carriers

(Image: Western Australia iron ore operations. Image courtesy of BHP)

BHP on Friday said it had released the world’s first tender for LNG-fuelled transport to carry up to 27 million tonnes, or about 10%, of its iron ore as it seeks to position itself at the forefront of responsible mining.

Apart from the quest to cut carbon emissions to curb global warming, the United Nations shipping agency is introducing tougher anti-pollution standards in the industry’s biggest shake-up for decades.

BHP said ships fuelled by LNG (liquefied natural gas) would eliminate NOx (nitrogen oxide) and SOx (sulphur oxide) emissions and, though not a zero-carbon solution, would bring a significant reduction in CO2 emissions until other options are available.

BHP, the world’s biggest diversified miner, stands apart from others in the sector with its target of net zero emissions by the second half of the century, in line with U.N. carbon-cutting goals.

That is a huge challenge, especially if it includes emissions related to the group’s vast amounts of coking coal and iron ore for steelmaking, as well as shipping of the material.

“We recognise we have a stewardship role, working with our customers, suppliers and others to influence emissions reductions across the full life cycle of our products,” said Rashpal Bhatti, BHP’s vice president for maritime and supply chain excellence.

BHP was “fully supportive” of the International Maritime Organization’s decision to impose lower limits on sulphur levels in marine fuels, Bhatti added.

(By Barbara Lewis; Editing by David Goodman)

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