Tag Archives: Andrew Forrest

Fortescue fast-tracks carbon neutrality aim, sets plan to trial hydrogen-powered drills

Fortescue Metals Group is accelerating its carbon neutrality efforts, with the iron ore miner now expecting to achieve this ‘green’ milestone by 2030, 10 years earlier than its previous target.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue, will be a key enabler of this target through the development of green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in Australia, however, the company has also identified battery-electric technology as a potential diesel alternative game changer.

Dr Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, said: “We have joined the global battle to defeat climate change. We are trialling and demonstrating green hydrogen technologies in global-scale commercial environments, while also rapidly evolving into a green hydrogen and electricity producer of similar scale.”

In line with its 2030 aim, Fortescue, through FFI and its operations team, is undertaking to deliver several key projects by the stretch target of June 30, 2021. This, the company says, will underpin its pathway to decarbonisation.

These projects include:

  • Developing a ship design powered by green ammonia and trialling that design in new ammonia engine technology, at scale;
  • Testing large battery technology in its haul trucks – a project the company is pursuing with the help of Williams Advanced Engineering;
  • Trialling hydrogen fuel cell power for its drill rigs;
  • Trialling technology on its locomotives to run on green ammonia; and
  • Conducting trials to use renewable energy in the Pilbara of Western Australia to convert iron ore to “green iron” at low temperatures, without coal.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Each of these projects will contribute to the world’s inexorable march to carbon neutrality. Fortescue will establish that the major steel, truck, train, ship and mobile plant industries can be operated with renewable, environmentally friendly energy. This will be possible as a result of these ground-breaking Fortescue trials. Each will be tested by Fortescue using commercial-scale equipment to prove that the demand for direct green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia could one day be as large as the fossil fuel industry.”

She added: “These projects are in addition to Fortescue’s significant investment with our partners into energy infrastructure, including the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project and Pilbara Energy Connect program.”

Forrest said the company’s commitment to demonstrate green hydrogen’s economic value in world-scale operations, and become a major energy exporter, means Fortescue will emerge as an “executor” of major green hydrogen projects.

He said the company’s green energy and industry initiatives may one day out-scale its iron ore business due to the global demand for renewable energy, but Fortescue’s commitment to iron ore and resources globally “remains indefeasible”.

Fortescue says it is seeking to move from being a major consumer of fossil fuel with a current trajectory of more than 1 billion litres a year of diesel being used across the operations if no remedial action is taken – to a major clean and renewable energy exporter.

FFI is advancing projects across Australia, including Tasmania, to build large-scale renewable energy and green hydrogen production capacity. This will expedite the substitution of green hydrogen and green ammonia for carbon-based fuels, it says. These projects will, with the support of Australia’s governments, contribute to a significant reduction in national carbon emissions.

Fortescue’s Forrest opens up about iron ore miner’s ‘green steel’ ambitions

Fortescue Metals Group Chairman and founder, Dr Andrew Forrest (pictured), has revealed the iron ore miner has plans to build Australia’s first “green steel” pilot plant this year.

A commercial plant, powered entirely by wind and solar, could be constructed in the next few years he said in the first Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Boyer Lecture for 2021, entitled: ‘Oil vs Water: Confessions of a Carbon Emitter’.

In a wide-ranging talk, he acknowledge that Fortescue was trialling both known methods of making “zero-carbon-steel” without the use of coal in Australia: replacing coal in the furnace with ‘green hydrogen’ and adding carbon separately to strengthen the steel, and “zap[ping] the ore with renewable electricity”.

On the development of such an industry, Forrest said: “We could look at losing our coal industry as a national disaster – yet, I’ve always believed, out of every setback, is the seed of equal or greater opportunity.

“We produce over 40% of the world’s iron ore. And our potential green energy and hydrogen resources are immeasurable.

“If Australia were to capture just 10% of the world’s steel market, we could generate well over 40,000 jobs – more than what’s required to replace every job in the coal industry.”

Fortescue, through its Fortescue Future Industries company, has been signing agreements to leverage hydro-electric power and geothermal energy to become one of the “world’s largest green energy and product businesses”, Forrest said.

“We’re now undertaking feasibility studies that could lead to some 300 GW of power – more than four times what Australia can produce,” he explained.

Forrest also mentioned some of the decarbonisation work Fortescue is currently working on.

Back in December, Fortescue Chief Operating Officer, Greg Lilleyman, announced the company was working on developing an in-house, non-diesel 240 t haul truck prototype that will test both battery-electric and fuel-cell electric drivetrain technology in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Seemingly referencing this project, Forrest said: “By the end of the decade, our trucks will run on renewable energy. Imagine that: a fleet of vehicles that produces nothing more than steam as exhaust.”

He also said the company was aiming to develop “green iron ore trains” powered by either renewable electricity or “green ammonia”.

Looking at the company’s shipping operations, he said 2021 would see the company “begin to settle designs” that allow its ships to run on “zero-pollution, green ammonia”.

He added: “And we’re willing to share that knowledge, to help our competitors go green too – including Vale, one of the largest mining companies in the world.”

Fortescue Future Industries to investigate Indonesia’s hydro, geothermal power potential

Fortescue Future Industries has signed its second hydropower agreement in a week, with the Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary agreeing with the Government of Indonesia on a pact that allows it priority to investigate projects using the country’s hydropower and geothermal resources for ‘green’ industrial operations.

This comes on top of the government and Minderoo Foundation, a company chaired by Fortescue Metals Chairman, Andrew Forrest, signing a letter of intent to dramatically reduce plastic pollution in Indonesia’s coastal waters by 2025.

The Deed of Agreement provides first priority to Fortescue Future Industries to conduct development studies into the feasibility of projects using Indonesia’s hydropower and geothermal resources to support green industrial operations, principally for export to global markets, it said.

Subject to the completion of feasibility studies and approvals, individual projects will be developed by Fortescue Future Industries with ownership and project finance sources to be separately secured without recourse to Fortescue.

This follows a similar green hydropower agreement with the PNG government, signed recently.

“Fortescue Future Industries is underpinned by Fortescue’s world-class expertise, operational excellence and proven capability to drive future growth,” the company said. “Fortescue is a values-based business, committed to investing in the long-term sustainability of its core business while pursuing growth and development and delivering returns to shareholders.”

The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment of the Republic of Indonesia, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, said: “Indonesia and Fortescue Future Industries have entered into a preliminary binding agreement to assess the development of Indonesia’s substantial renewable power to drive green industries.”

Minister Luhut and Fortescue’s Forrest said in a joint statement: “The establishment of totally new and future large-scale industries will drive growth in Indonesia’s economy.”

Forrest added: “We have historically always enriched our organisation by providing training for guaranteed employment to local communities who have then strongly supported the projects we have developed together. We expect the new green industries in Indonesia to substantially diversify, broaden and deepen Indonesia’s already skilled workforce.”

Minister Luhut commented: “For too many decades, proposals have been thrust upon Indonesia that rely on the Indonesian people assuming the full financial risk through the purchase of electricity at prices that underwrote these developments. This agreement allows Fortescue Future Industries to access all the major hydropower and geothermal opportunities in Indonesia and establish downstream value adding industry to fully utilise the power created from sustainable energy sites.”

Meanwhile, through a joint partnership with the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, Minderoo Foundation will pilot its ‘Sea The Future’ initiative in Indonesia to scale up recycling and waste collection infrastructure and operations. Sea The Future is a coalition of leading companies in the plastics industry committed to ending plastic leakage to nature and accelerating the transition to a circular plastics economy, according to Fortescue.

Fortescue integrates WA iron ore supply chain into the Hive

Fortescue Metals Group has officially opened the Fortescue Hive, the company’s newly expanded Integrated Operations Centre (IOC) which, FMG says, uses the latest technology and brings together the company’s fully owned and integrated supply chain.

Fortescue Founder and Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest, and Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, celebrated the official opening in Perth with various politicians and members of the iron ore miner’s Board of Directors and core leadership team.

The purpose-built facility includes Fortescue’s planning, operations and mine control teams, together with port, rail, shipping and marketing teams. It allows 330 team members across Fortescue’s complete supply chain to work together, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to deliver improved safety, reliability, efficiency and commercial outcomes, the company said.

Dr Forrest said: “Mining is one of the most innovative industries in the world. Fortescue has long been a technology leader in the industry and was the first mining operation in Western Australia to control a railway from a remote location when we unveiled our Train Control Centre in Perth in 2009.

“Since then, Fortescue has continued to lead the pack and today we officially launch the Fortescue Hive, our reimagined IOC, which sits at the heart of our integrated supply chain to deliver critical ores to develop the great cities of our region and beyond.”

Earlier this month, Fortescue celebrated an important milestone in the rollout of autonomous haulage technology at its Chichester Hub operations, in the Pilbara of Western Australia, with the conversion of its 100th autonomous truck.

Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue has developed the world’s most advanced vertically integrated bulk operations infrastructure. We are very proud to open our enhanced IOC, the Fortescue Hive, which enables us to operate our globally significant mines from the centre of Perth.

“The Fortescue Hive seamlessly links our core exploration, metallurgical, mining and marketing expertise to deliver value to our customers, shareholders and the broader community. Importantly, the Fortescue Hive will underpin our future use of technology, including artificial intelligence and robotics, and will expand to include the generation and integrated distribution network for the Pilbara Energy Connect, our hybrid solar-gas power solution.”

Chief Operating Officer, Greg Lilleyman, said Fortescue’s integrated management of the mine to market supply chain was “unique” in the industry and co-locating its planning, operations, shipping and marketing business functions would further leverage its “exclusive advantage”.

He added: “By ensuring our teams are truly integrated, we can capitalise on market dynamics and respond to the needs of our customers.”

The Fortescue Hive covers an area of 2,500 sq.m and, over 15 weeks, 6.5 t of concrete was removed from the building, while 2.1 tonnes of steel was installed. The fit-out of the facility included 162 workstations and 996 computer monitors, connected by 64 km of underfloor cables.

Fortescue breaks ground at $1.275 billion Eliwana iron ore development

Fortescue Metals Group says it has officially broken ground on the Eliwana iron ore mine and rail project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

FMG Founder and Chairman, Andrew Forrest, was today joined by Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia, FMG CEO, Elizabeth Gaines, and the company’s core leadership team, for the official sod turning.

The $1.275 billion project includes the construction of 143 km of rail, a new 30 Mt/y dry ore processing facility (OPF) and infrastructure. First ore on train is expected in December 2020, the company says.

FMG says contracts to the value of A$330 million ($232 million) to date have been awarded to more than 250 Australian business entities as part of the Eliwana development, of which 80% are Western Australia-owned businesses. As further approvals are progressed, it is expected over A$500 million in additional contracts will be awarded by the end of 2019, FMG said.

Contract recipients include BGC Contracting for bulk earthworks and roads, NRW Holdings, also for bulk earthworks, and SIMPEC for electrical, communications and dry fire systems testing.

“Eliwana underpins the sustainable production of West Pilbara Fines and provides the flexibility for Fortescue to deliver products at greater than 60% Fe grade,” FMG said. “The development will utilise the latest technology, autonomous trucks and design efficiency, further cementing Fortescue’s world leading use of innovation across its mining operations.”

Forrest said: “This is a proud day for Fortescue as we celebrate the largest project since the Kings Valley mine in 2014.

“Since Fortescue was founded 16 years ago, we have held community and family at our core and continued to deliver on our commitment to be the safest, lowest cost company. Eliwana is the next great step into the Western Hub, enhancing our profitability and extending our mine life.”

The project will generate up to 1,900 jobs during construction and 500 full-time site positions once operational, according to Forrest.

Gaines said: “The Eliwana project will build on Fortescue’s unparalleled track record and capability in safely developing and operating major iron ore projects in the Pilbara. Eliwana is core to the next phase of development in Fortescue’s world class, innovative operations. The project will see us maintain our low-cost status, provide us with greater flexibility to deliver on our integrated operations and marketing strategy and, when combined with the Iron Bridge Magnetite development, it will increase Fortescue’s average product grade and provide the ability to deliver the majority of our products at greater than 60% Fe, consistent with our long term goal.”

Fortescue completes tug fleet and towage infrastructure at Herb Elliott Port

Fortescue Metals Group has celebrated the completion of its fleet of tugs and towage infrastructure at the company’s Herb Elliott Port, in Port Hedland, Western Australia.

Founder and Chairman, Andrew Forrest (pictured on the left), together with Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines (pictured on the right), and the core leadership team, were joined by local politicians and members of the Port Hedland community to celebrate the milestone ahead of tug operations commencing in July.

Fortescue has procured and constructed six tugs and leased a further three tugs, including six Advanced Rotor Tugs 85-32W, which were constructed by Damen Shipyards at the Song Cam and Damen Song Cam shipyards, in Vietnam, it said. The tugs will be based at the new nine berth tug and harbour facility, located in the vicinity of Fortescue’s berths one to three at Anderson Point.

Forrest said: “As Australia’s economic and industrial gateway to Asia, the port of Port Hedland is the largest bulk export port in the world. It is an economic powerhouse of our country generating countless jobs and businesses directly across the nation and supporting the standard of living of us all.

“Since Fortescue was founded, we have set ourselves the toughest stretch targets we could. We aimed to develop the world’s most advanced vertically integrated bulk operations infrastructure, and to seamlessly link this with our core exploration, metallurgical and mining operations.

“Our aim was to develop an integrated world leading system to deliver critical ores that would build the economies of nations. The strategic decisions made by the Board to build our fleet of ore carriers and Fortescue owned and operated towage capability mark the critical completion of this part of Fortescue’s journey.”

Gaines added: “Fortescue operates the most efficient bulk port operation in Australia and the towage fleet represents the final element in our supply chain, with our innovative new tug fleet able to provide safe and reliable towage services and additional towage capacity for all Port Hedland users. The tug fleet and new facilities will maximise the efficiencies of our operation and provide long-term sustainable towage services crucial to meeting the demands of our customers.

“I would like to thank the entire Fortescue team for their work to bring us to the point of operational readiness, as well as the Pilbara Ports Authority, Damen Song Cam Shipyard, who constructed the vessels, and KOTUG and Westug Pty Ltd, who will manage the towage operations.”