This decade is highly critical in terms of climate action, and Finland plays an important role as the frontrunner in Europe. Outokumpu, the global leader in sustainable stainless steel, is accelerating the green transition in the steel industry with its actions. As part of Outokumpu’s emission reduction targets, the company’s Kemi mine will become carbon neutral by 2025. In October, Outokumpu will take a significant step forward in reaching the target by replacing fossil fuels with renewable solutions provided by Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel. With renewable fuels, the annual greenhouse gas emissions of the Kemi mine will be cut by almost 11.3 million kilos, which corresponds to the removal of approximately 4,000 passenger cars from Finnish traffic for a year.
“As the only stainless steel producer, Outokumpu is committed to ambitious climate targets in line with the 1.5 degree ambition. We aim to decrease direct and indirect emissions as well as emissions from the supply chain by 42% per tonne of stainless steel we produce by 2030 compared to the 2016 baseline. The carbon neutrality of the Kemi mine is an investment worth millions of euros and when realized, it will mean a reduction of almost 40 million kilos in Outokumpu’s greenhouse gas emissions. The three key factors of the Kemi Mine’s carbon neutrality are giving up fossil fuels, utilizing low-emission electricity, and replacing natural and propane gas in heating. As a first step, we switch to renewable fuels and aim to identify all possibilities to decrease emissions from the entire value chain – to get as close to zero in our total emissions as possible. We are also studying the opportunities for compensating the remaining emissions in our value chain that cannot be otherwise reduced with current technology. Our goal is to make the Kemi mine the world’s first operating carbon-neutral mine by 2025,” says Heidi Peltonen, Vice President, Sustainability at Outokumpu.
The Kemi mine is the only chrome mine in the European Union and part of the sustainable supply chain of Outokumpu’s stainless steel mill in Tornio. Outokumpu’s operations in Kemi and Tornio also provide a great number of jobs in Finland.
“Our own chrome mine is a competitive advantage. As part of the development of the Kemi mine and achieving our sustainability targets, we have recently finished a significant mine project. In 2017–2023, we invested more than EUR 280 million into deepening our underground mine from 500 meters to 1,000 meters. This is to ensure the continuous supply of chrome, a key raw material in stainless steel, for decades to come. The carbon footprint of the ferrochrome produced by our company is 67% lower than the industry average, which in part has an impact on our stainless steel having the smallest carbon footprint in the market,” says Martti Sassi, President of the business area Ferrochrome at Outokumpu.
Renewable fuels supporting the green transition – the first mine and steel industry cooperation in Europe
Neste’s renewable diesel, made from 100% renewable raw materials such as used cooking oil and animal fat from food industry waste is used to replace fossil fuels in the machines, trains and alternative power sources in the Kemi mine and the Tornio mill as well as in the transports between the mine and the mill. The own fleet of the Kemi and Tornio operations as well as contractor fleet will fully switch to Neste MY Renewable Diesel™.
“Our goal at Neste is to help customers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with our renewable and circular solutions by at least 20 million tons per year by 2030. I’m glad that our long-term cooperation with Outokumpu continues and that we can support the company in working towards its ambitious climate targets. The switch to renewable fuels at the Kemi mine and Tornio steel mill is Neste’s most extensive cooperation with the mining and steel industry in Europe so far. By replacing fossil fuels with our renewable fuels in their own fleet and contractors’ fleet, Outokumpu can immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions in these by 90% on average over the life cycle of the fuel,” says Joni Pihlstöm, Vice President, Marketing & Services, B2B Sales at Neste.