Tag Archives: Elizabeth Gaines

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 expands automation focus to light vehicles at Chichester Hub

Fortescue Metals Group says the future of mining mobility is being advanced at its mines, with the successful operational deployment of autonomous light vehicles (ALVs) at the company’s iron ore mining operations in the Chichester Hub of Western Australia.

Developed by Fortescue’s Technology and Autonomy team as a solution to improve the efficiency of the Christmas Creek mobile maintenance team, ALVs remove the need for fitters to make around 12,000 28-km round trips annually to collect equipment and parts, the company estimates.

With the assistance of Ford Australia, four Ford Rangers have been retrofitted with an on-board vehicle automation system to support the driverless equipment transfer service, which will improve efficiency and safety by enabling team members to spend more time on maintaining assets.

The system features an integrated LiDAR/Radar perception system that facilitates obstacle detection and dynamic obstacle avoidance, a comprehensive independent safety management, and fail safe braking system and extensive built-in system monitoring and fault response capability.

The successful deployment of ALVs at Christmas Creek will provide the opportunity to implement a similar system at other operational sites to improve safety, productivity and efficiency, Fortescue says.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Since the outset, Fortescue has been at the forefront of innovation in the mining industry, underpinned by our value of generating ideas. It is this focus on technology and innovation that has driven our industry-leading operational performance and cost position.

“The autonomous light vehicle project is a significant advancement of our in-house automation capability, building on our leading autonomous haulage system program which has already delivered significant productivity and efficiency improvements for the business.

“With the flexibility to introduce similar systems into other mobile assets, this project is fundamental to our future mobile equipment automation projects.”

Ford Australia President and Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Birkic, said: “We’re very proud that our award-winning Ford Rangers have been used as part of the Fortescue Metals Group autonomous light vehicle project.

“Ford, globally, is at the forefront of research into autonomous vehicles, and working with companies like Fortescue is critical to gaining an insight into specific user applications.”

Fortescue adds to Billion Opportunities program with Iron Bridge contracts

Fortescue Metals Group has continued its longstanding commitment to Aboriginal procurement and delivery of benefits for its Native Title partners, with over A$13 million ($10.1 million) of new contracts awarded as part of the company’s Iron Bridge Magnetite project.

Two contracts have been awarded to 100%-owned Aboriginal-owned business Jukawalyi Resources Pty Ltd, and the Yulu Joint Venture (a joint venture company between Njamal Resource Enterprises Pty Ltd and Icon SI (Aust) Pty Ltd).

Both companies are owned by members of the Njamal Native Title group, who are the traditional custodians of the land where Iron Bridge is located.

Under the contract, Jukawalyi will provide light vehicles for the Iron Bridge operations. The future sustainability and ongoing success of Jukawalyi will be further supported with Fortescue acting as a guarantor for the purchase of the vehicles, through Fortescue’s guaranteed leasing facility with ANZ, it said.

Yulu JV was awarded a contract to complete a portion of the non-mining process infrastructure work, including designing and constructing the main ore processing facility administration building, laboratory building and associated facilities.

The Iron Bridge, operated under an unincorporated joint venture between Fortescue subsidiary, FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd, and Formosa Steel IB, covers the development of a new magnetite mine, including processing and transport facilities. The $2.6 billion development is expected to produce 22 Mt/y (wet) of high grade, magnetite concentrate, with first ore in 2022.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue is proud of our strong relationships with Native Title groups across the Pilbara, which is delivering significant benefits including jobs, training and business development opportunities for Aboriginal people, their families and their communities.

“Empowering businesses like Jukawalyi and Yulu JV to make long-term, beneficial business decisions is at the heart of our Billion Opportunities initiative. These contracts will provide the opportunity to build local capability and asset ownership for these local Aboriginal businesses.”

Jukawalyi Managing Director, Joanne Taylor, said: “As a small family-owned business based in Port Hedland, the ability to access finance in addition to the contract with Fortescue is transformative, providing us with the ability to take our business to the next level.”

Yulu JV owner, Troy Eaton, said: “We are proud to secure this work for such an important project. With the Pilbara positioned for ongoing development, the securing of this project leaves us well-positioned to capture future opportunities for both Yulu JV and the Njamal People.”

Since its inception in 2011, Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities program has awarded over A$2.7 billion in contracts and sub-contracts to Aboriginal businesses and joint venture partners.

Fortescue teams with Kawasaki and Iwatani on liquid hydrogen mission

Fortescue Metals Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Iwatani Corporation to develop a business model for the supply of liquid hydrogen into Japan.

Under the MoU, the three parties will establish the Global LH2 Consortium to facilitate collaboration for the establishment of large scale, liquid hydrogen production and supply capabilities, Fortescue says.

The consortium will focus on joint activities associated with the development of renewable hydrogen projects in Australia and overseas, with a view to establishing liquid hydrogen supply chains and the distribution and offtake of liquid hydrogen within Japan.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “The world’s transition to a clean energy future represents a major growth opportunity and this partnership with Kawasaki and Iwatani will help position Fortescue at the forefront of the establishment of a global renewable hydrogen industry.

“Japan has been identified as one of the priority north Asian markets for hydrogen exports. By leveraging our value chain and market access as well as the skills and capability of our people to rapidly develop complex projects, we believe Fortescue is well placed to meet the future demand of green hydrogen.”

Kawasaki Executive Officer, Dr Eiichi Harada, said: “Kawasaki is a world leader in the production, storage, shipping and handling of liquid hydrogen. In order to contribute to securing a stable energy supply and the preservation of the global environment, Kawasaki is excited to enter into a relationship and business partnership with Fortescue and Iwatani for the establishment of the Global LH2 Consortium.”

Iwatani Board Member, Manabu Tsuyoshi, said: “Iwatani is the number one hydrogen supplier and only liquefied hydrogen supplier in Japan. Since we started in the hydrogen business in 1941, we have built a nationwide hydrogen network from manufacturing to transportation, storage, supply and safety. In order to expand our hydrogen supply capabilities and to develop new business models, Iwatani is pleased to partner with Fortescue and Kawasaki to establish future global hydrogen supply chains.”

Kawasaki and Iwatani are also involved in the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain project at Port Hastings, which is looking at the feasibility of turning brown coal from the Latrobe Valley, in Victoria, Australia, into hydrogen for liquefaction and export to Japan.

Fortescue puts first tonnes through Eliwana iron ore processing facility

Fortescue Metals Group is celebrating first ore through the ore processing facility at its Eliwana mine and rail project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, and Deputy Chairman, Mark Barnaba, celebrated the official event on site at Eliwana with Bill Johnston, Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Industrial Relations, representatives of Fortescue’s native title partners, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura People, and members of the Fortescue Board of Directors and the core leadership team.

Gaines said: “Eliwana is the next important stage of development of Fortescue’s world-class, integrated operations. Exploration commenced in this area in 2006, and we have now delivered a new 30 Mt per annum dry ore processing facility and infrastructure, along with 143 km of rail which is in the final stages of construction.

“Eliwana will see us maintain our low-cost status and provide us with greater flexibility across our product mix. Construction of the mine, village and infrastructure was completed safely over a 12-month period, in line with budget and schedule.”

Eliwana will help Fortescue maintain its overall production rate of a minimum 170 Mt/y over 20 years, the company has said.

Fortescue considers investment in Tasmania ‘green hydrogen’ plant

Fortescue Metals Group has confirmed it is investigating the development of a green ammonia plant in Bell Bay, Tasmania, that could have a 250 MW green hydrogen capacity.

The plant, which has been announced as a successful participant in the Tasmanian Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Industry Development Funding program, would be constructed at the Bell Bay Industrial Precinct, with green ammonia production capacity of 250,000 tonnes per year for domestic and international export.

“It has the capacity to be one of the world’s largest green hydrogen plants, powered entirely by Tasmanian renewable energy,” the company said, adding that the project is targeted for an investment decision by the Fortescue Board in 2021.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines (left), said: “Working with our wholly-owned subsidiary, Fortescue Future Industries, we are assessing clean energy opportunities locally and internationally to capitalise on the important role that green hydrogen will play to ensure the world can meet the Paris 2050 targets.

“Subject to detailed feasibility analysis, the Tasmania project will be an important step in demonstrating our intention to position Australia at the forefront of the establishment of a bulk export market for green hydrogen.

“Fortescue has a successful track record of identifying and assessing opportunities and by building on our expertise and supply chain capabilities, we will ensure that the financial and project execution discipline that Fortescue is renowned for is applied to projects developed by Fortescue Future Industries.”

She concluded: “Partnering with the Tasmanian Government to harness the abundant renewable energy in Tasmania, we see potential to create a significant new green industry.”

The project supports Fortescue’s operational target to be “net zero” by 2040 and builds on the company’s investment in green hydrogen production and technologies.

This includes a partnership with the CSIRO for the development of new hydrogen technologies; a A$32 million ($23 million) hydrogen mobility project at Christmas Creek; a partnership with ATCO Australia to build and operate the first combined green hydrogen production and refuelling facility in Western Australia; and a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai Motor Co and CSIRO to advance renewable hydrogen technology for domestic transport.

Fortescue completes autonomous haul truck fleet conversion in Western Australia

Fortescue Metals Group says it has completed its Chichester Hub autonomous haulage project, with 183 trucks now operating in AHS mode across its Solomon and Chichester Hubs, in Western Australia.

The project represents one of the largest fleet conversions to autonomous haulage systems (AHS) in the industry. It was aided by the involvement of Thiess.

The multi-class fleet includes Cat 793F, 789D and Komatsu 930E haul trucks and has safely travelled more than 52 million km and moved 1,500 Mt of material since 2013, according to FMG. An additional 900 assets, such as excavators, wheel loaders and light vehicles, are integrated with the autonomous fleet using Cat MineStar Command for hauling technology, which is operated from the Fortescue Hive, the company’s integrated operations centre in Perth, Western Australia.

Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines said, “Mining is one of the most innovative industries in the world, and Fortescue continues to build on our leading autonomy capability to deliver productivity and efficiency benefits.

“Most importantly, the introduction of AHS technology has improved safety outcomes across our operations and we’re very pleased that the team achieved this important milestone in the truck conversion program to the highest safety standards.

“Our approach to autonomy has been to be open and transparent with our plans and to work closely with our team members to offer opportunities for re-training and re-deployment. Around 3,000 Fortescue team members have been trained to work with autonomous haulage, including over 200 people trained as Mine Controllers and AHS system professionals.”

Group President, Resource Industries, Caterpillar Inc, Denise Johnson, said: “Fortescue is a leader in the implementation of autonomous solutions. This important milestone further reinforces the transformation Fortescue has made with autonomy to improve safety, site productivity and machine utilisation. We congratulate Fortescue on this significant achievement.”

Fortescue Chief Operating Officer, Greg Lilleyman, said: “Fortescue’s autonomous haulage fleet has delivered a 30% increase in productivity. Looking ahead, the flexibility of our efficient, multi-class autonomous fleet offers considerable potential for further productivity and efficiency gains.

“Our operations are more connected than ever before and, by using data from our autonomous haulage fleet, we can paint an accurate picture of our operations and focus on the optimal opportunities for improvement, such as haul road design and maintenance scheduling.

“Our autonomous haulage system is a foundational tool which allows us to streamline processes and improve outcomes, ultimately delivering increased value for our shareholders.”

Fortescue Metals granted approval to expand iron ore capacity at Herb Elliott

Fortescue Metals Group says it has received approval from authorities to increase the material handling capacity of its Herb Elliott Port facility, in Western Australia, from 175 Mt/y to 210 Mt/y on a staged basis.

The approval, under the West Australian Environmental Protection Act 1986, includes provisions for 188 Mt/y of hematite ore and 22 Mt/y of magnetite concentrate. The high-grade magnetite product will be produced from the Iron Bridge magnetite operations, with first ore on ship from Iron Bridge scheduled for mid-2022.

The revised licence uses the capacity of Fortescue’s existing port infrastructure, comprising five berths and three ship loaders, and supports its 2021 financial year iron ore shipments guidance of 175-180 Mt.

Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue’s port operations are world leading and we have continually demonstrated our capacity to optimise the efficiency and productivity of our port infrastructure to deliver iron ore to our customers.

“The increase in the licensed capacity of Fortescue’s Herb Elliott Port from 175 Mt/y to 210 Mt/y is in line with our strategy to deliver growth through investment, including the $2.6 billion investment in the Iron Bridge project. This significant project will deliver 22 Mt/y of high-grade magnetite product, enhancing the range of products available to our customers through our flexible integrated operations and marketing strategy.

“We will continue to ensure that Fortescue remains a significant long-term contributor to the state and national economies through growth and development of our iron ore assets, job creation and investment.”

Fortescue says it maintains a high level of vigilance over its management of dust in Port Hedland, with installation and implementation of additional controls ensuring no net increase in dust emissions as a result of the progressive increase in throughput capacity at Herb Elliott.

Fortescue to bring automation expertise to Curtin University WASM curriculum

A new partnership between Fortescue Metals Group and Curtin University’s WA School of Mines (WASM) will, FMG says, help shape the future of Australia’s mining workforce through a new forward-looking curriculum that meets the needs of the modern resources sector.

Fortescue Operations Improvement Manager, Dr Rob Solomon (pictured), has been appointed to the newly created role of Professor of Practice in Mining Automation and Data Analysis at WASM, leading a range of research initiatives and shaping undergraduate curriculum to drive the application of data science in mining, according to Fortescue.

In his current role with Fortescue, Dr Solomon leads a team looking into the operational efficiency of the company’s autonomous mining operations using data sets and advanced analytics.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “At Fortescue, we have a proud history of embracing technology and innovation which has been fundamental to driving sustained productivity, cost savings and improvements in safety across our business.

“The Australian resources sector is already among the most innovative in the world and through this partnership with Curtin University, we look forward to building a pipeline of job-ready graduates who are ready to challenge the status quo and help guarantee the long-term success of our industry.”

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor, John Cordery, said the Mining Automation Professor of Practice will be integral to embedding WASM’s new future-focused curriculum.

“Dr Solomon brings a wealth of practical experience in operations, impressive academic credentials and a passion for ensuring that new technologies deliver a sustainable industry future,” Professor Cordery said. “His appointment will see us better able to deliver both content and teaching in mining automation and data analytics.

“The school’s mining and mining engineering courses are already considered among the world’s very best (ranking second in the world by subject) and we are confident Dr Solomon’s input as Professor of Practice in Mining Automation and Data Analysis will see us continue to be global leaders in those fields.”

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.