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Neste supports Rio Tinto U.S. Borax mining site to transition to renewable diesel

| By Mary Bailey

Neste Corp. (Espoo, Finland) has partnered with Rio Tinto (London, U.K.) to help the company transition all of its heavy machinery from fossil diesel to renewable diesel at the U.S. Borax mine in Boron, California. The partnership helps Rio Tinto reduce the carbon footprint of its fleet and sets a precedent for others in the mining industry to follow.

Rio Tinto’s initial trial of switching fossil diesel to renewable diesel in a haul truck was conducted in 2022 in partnership with Neste and Rolls-Royce. Rio Tinto U.S. Borax used Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ during the trial. Made from sustainably sourced, 100% renewable raw materials such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste, the use of Neste MY Renewable Diesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%* over its life cycle compared to fossil diesel. Results from the trial showed that a truck powered by mtu engines from Rolls-Royce running on Neste MY Renewable Diesel delivered similar performance and reliability as trucks running on fossil diesel.   

Based on these positive results, Rio Tinto U.S. Borax continued to work with Rolls-Royce, Neste, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of California to fully transition its heavy machinery fleet at the U.S. Borax mine in Boron to renewable diesel at the end of May 2023. This transition includes all the heavy machinery on the property from haul trucks to loaders and even blasting equipment.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty industries, like mining, has been a challenge, but our partnership demonstrates renewable diesel can keep the industry’s heavy equipment running with a smaller carbon footprint while delivering the same reliability and performance,” says Carrie Song, Vice President, Renewable Road Transportation Americas at Neste. “We hope our partnership will inspire other players in the industry to consider, adopt and endorse renewable diesel as a solution to fight climate change today.” 

“This is an excellent example of what happens when internal and external partners collaborate toward a carbon reduction goal. Support from the State of California has been incredibly important, as without their vision, this would not have been possible,” says Sinead Kaufman, Chief Executive, Minerals, Rio Tinto. “The transition at Boron is an important first step and will undoubtedly lead to further opportunities to decarbonize our global operations. Renewable diesel is one of several sustainability solutions that Rio Tinto is using to transform its businesses.”

Partnering with Neste to transition to renewable diesel supports Rio Tinto’s global decarbonization objectives, which include a 50% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030, and a commitment to reach net zero by 2050. The transition is further supported by TACenergy, Neste’s fuel distribution partner in California working diligently for the past decade to develop trial programs to prove the many benefits of renewable diesel, and help cities and businesses like Rio Tinto to adopt this lower-carbon, more sustainable solution. 

Neste’s expansion of its Singapore refinery and the joint venture with Marathon in Martinez, CA, will increase Neste’s total production capacity of renewable products globally to 1.9 billion gallons (5.5 million tons) in the beginning of 2024 and make Neste the only global provider of renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, and renewable feedstock for polymers and chemicals with a production footprint on three continents.