5 Mins With... Ragnar Udd, President Minerals Americas, BHP
Ragnard Udd, President Minerals America, BHP on why he believes the future is bright for the resources sector...
Tell us why you’re feeling so positive about the future for the mining industry?
“I have never been quite as excited and optimistic about the opportunities and challenges of a role as I am today leading two of BHP’s future facing commodities: in copper and our potash development. It may sound odd coming at a time when most of the world is still dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Later stage urbanisation and industrialisation in China, early-stage urbanisation in India and the significant impact of China’s Belt and Road initiative are all expected to provide additional demand for our products over the long term.”
What else do you see driving demand?
“In the 2020s, we expect the global population to expand to 8.5 billion from the current level of 7.7 billion, of which 5.2 billion will live in urban centres. As a consequence, we expect corresponding increases in global GDP as well as capital expenditure. In addition to creating demand for raw materials, population growth will also fuel demand for Potash, which will be vital for more efficient agricultural practices to feed this growing population. Another factor is the strong push across the world to decarbonise. This effort will require substantial investment in infrastructure and the technologies that will leverage them.”
How is the electrification of mobility playing a part?
“Policy signposts for rapid electric vehicle (EV) adoption were distinctly favourable over the last twelve months and we have revised our internal EV penetration forecasts upwards. These vehicles use four times as much copper as petrol-based cars, and they will also need more infrastructure to connect charging stations to the grid.”
How important is the role resources will play in the transition to renewable energies?
“In a Paris-aligned, 1.5°C scenario, we expect that investment in areas such as copper-intensive solar generation, nickel-intensive batteries, and steel-intensive wind turbines will contribute to a more than doubling of the amount of primary copper and a quadrupling of the amount of primary nickel demand over the next 30 years relative to that produced over the last 30 years.”
How do you see BHP’s role in realising this positive future?
“We are producing the materials that build global infrastructure and, support efforts to solve climate change... all the while providing skilled jobs for our people and support for our communities. The case is clear: our industry has a huge opportunity to feed the demand for resources. We also have to address the fact that society quite rightly demands more from us - in terms of societal contribution, safety and sustainability, and of course operational excellence.”
People Moves: Peter Cunningham appointed Rio Tinto CFO
Rio Tinto has appointed Peter Cunningham as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with immediate effect. Peter, who has been Interim Chief Financial Officer since 1 January 2021, will also join the Rio Tinto Board as an executive director at the same time.
Peter Cunningham appointed Rio Tinto CFO
Peter Cunningham was previously Group Controller and has held a number of senior financial and non-financial leadership positions across Rio Tinto in Australia and the UK. In a career spanning 28 years with Rio Tinto, he has held roles including Global Head of Health, Safety, Environment & Communities; Head of Energy and Climate Strategy; and Head of Investor Relations.
Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Peter qualified as a chartered accountant.
Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm commented: “I am delighted to confirm Peter in the role and, having worked closely with him for a number of years, I know he is the ideal person to be our Chief Financial Officer. His detailed knowledge of the company and of the financial and non-financial drivers of our industry will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen Rio Tinto.”
Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson added: "I look forward to Peter joining the Rio Tinto Board and know from experience that his deep understanding of Rio Tinto and commitment to disciplined capital allocation will serve shareholders well and enrich our Board discussions.”
Rio Tinto aiming for net zero by 2050
Rio Tinto is aiming to reach net zero emissions across its operations by 2050. Across the company, it is targeting a 15% reduction in absolute emissions and a 30% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030, from a 2018 baseline.
Aluminium is found in everything from cars to phones. But one of the challenges of producing this essential material responsibly is finding ways to decarbonise the process.
Part of the reason is creating alumina – the main ingredient in aluminium – takes a lot of energy, which in turn creates greenhouse gas emissions. New technologies will be essential to helping reduce emissions, but many haven’t been proven. And some not yet even discovered. Rio Tinto is partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)to develop hydrogen energy options and make a positive step towards these goals.