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Mining giant BHP says emissions might increase, says reduction is not a straight line trend

In an investor presentation, BHP said it expected emissions reduction technology to mature towards decade's end. Image: Pexels

BHP Group warned that emission reductions could not happen in a linear fashion, saying they could instead rise in the near term, as the path to net zero was "uneven" and technology not yet mature.

"Decarbonization will be non-linear and will require significant effort to overcome emissions growth and technology challenges," the company said in an investor presentation.

The Australian mining powerhouse – the largest listed miner in the world – added it was on track to cut operational emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030, referenced to a 2020 baseline, and said it stood by a commitment for net zero operational emissions by 2050.

Mining companies – and their customers – are among the biggest polluters in the world. Both industries are looking for ways to curb emissions. Last week, Brazil's Gerdau SA announced plans to invest $667 million in what it called "sustainable" expansion of its Miguel Burnier iron ore mine and Tata Steel said it would test a new emissions reduction technology from SMS group at Jamshedpur, India. Earlier this month, chemicals company LyondellBassel said it would evaluate a new olefins furnace that promised to lower emissions.

BHP said it planned to plow the majority of its $4 billion capital expenditure on emission reduction only towards the end of the decade, once technology matured. The company said 40 percent of the money would go to iron ore operations in Western Australia, and 31 percent would be spent on the Escondida copper mine in Chile. 

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