Fortescue signs major zero emissions haul truck deal with Liebherr covering both battery and fuel cell versions

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (FMG) today announced a partnership with multinational equipment manufacturer Liebherr for the development and supply of green mining haul trucks for integration with the zero emission power system technologies being developed by Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE).

FMG stated: “This is a major step towards transitioning Fortescue’s diesel mining fleet to a green mining fleet before 2030 and accelerates the opportunity to commercialise zero emission power system technologies in heavy industry applications.”

The agreement advances the decarbonisation of Fortescue’s mobile fleet through this partnership with one of the world’s leading manufacturers of mining equipment. Utilising WAE’s unique proprietary technology and expertise in high-performance battery systems, the partnership it says “secures a pathway for Fortescue to become a zero emission power system supplier to a tier one original equipment manufacturer and accelerates technology commercialisation.”

Under the partnership, Fortescue will purchase a fleet of 120 haul trucks from Liebherr, with delivery aligned to its fleet replacement and sustaining capital expenditure forecast. The commitment represents approximately 45% of the current haul truck fleet at Fortescue’s operations. Truck haulage consumed approximately 200 million litres of diesel in FY21 and accounted for 26% of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions.

The phased supply of haul trucks is anticipated to commence following a two year joint development period enabling the development and integration of Fortescue’s proprietary-owned power system into Liebherr’s proprietary-owned base truck. Liebherr will supply mining haul trucks to Fortescue in both battery electric truck and fuel cell electric truck configurations, in accordance with Fortescue’s requirements.

The first of the zero emission haul units will be fully operational within Fortescue mine sites by 2025, with the further aim of having the units available for commercial sale from that time. Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines said, “The signing of this contract with Liebherr marks a significant step in the delivery of our industry leading decarbonisation target to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030. We strongly believe that enhancing technology is key to addressing climate change and we are investing in renewables and new decarbonisation technologies to transform our mining fleet to run on green renewable energy.

She added: “This agreement builds on the considerable value already created through Fortescue’s acquisition of WAE and demonstrates the significant long term opportunity for Fortescue to commercialise green power system technologies to the broader heavy duty mobility market. We look forward to working with Liebherr and WAE to develop and deploy some of the world’s first zero emission large mining haul trucks in our operations, while also establishing an important new business growth opportunity for Fortescue as we diversify to become an integrated green energy and resources company.”

President of the Administrative Board of Liebherr-International, Dr Willi Liebherr said: “This partnership with Fortescue will draw from Liebherr’s industry leading equipment and technology, as well as Fortescue Future Industries’ expertise in green technologies, to deliver zero emission mining.

Fortescue Chairman and Founder Dr Andrew Forrest said: “We are on a march to achieve net zero by 2030, strengthening the economics of our business and making our products acceptable to a zero pollution future. Every day our Fortescue and FFI family take forward the technology, hard work, and willpower of going green, the world mining industry takes one step closer to being the first globally leading industry to go fully green. I hope today’s announcement would also bring a smile to the face of Sir Frank Williams, the visionary that founded Williams F1 and Williams Advanced Engineering. Frank lived to challenge the status quo.”