(Bloomberg) -- BHP Group Ltd., the world’s biggest miner, is entering a joint venture with Chinese steelmaker HBIS Group Co. to test carbon capture technology that it says could reduce emissions from heavily-polluting mills.

The small pilot project will test a technology to capture waste carbon dioxide from steel mills before it escapes into the atmosphere. It would then use that C02 in industrial materials and the food industry. The pilot would draw on a $15 million joint fund, BHP said in a statement on Monday.

The project with the major Chinese steelmaker is part of Melbourne-based BHP’s push to address the huge carbon footprint of its iron ore and metallurgical coal businesses. While carbon capture, use and storage offers a possible route to cutting emissions from existing steel mills, it’s also expensive, technically difficult, and yet to be tested at scale. 

The company’s downstream “Scope 3” emissions — created when customers use its products — were around 400 million tons last year, or just below those of the entire UK. Steelmaking is one of the world’s most polluting activities, producing around 8% of global carbon emissions. 

The pilot would “provide a strong example for the industry to follow towards the wider deployment of” carbon capture, use and storage, “and towards achieving major reductions in the CO2 emission intensity of steel production,” BHP Chief Executive Officer Mike Henry said in the statement. 

Carbon capture is one way of reducing carbon emissions from steel. The industry is also looking to adopt hydrogen-based technology instead of traditional coal-fired furnaces. Last week, BHP announced plans to build a “green steel” pilot plant in Australia with engineering group Hatch Ltd.

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