Tag Archives: Fortescue Metals Group

Fortescue issues ‘industry-leading’ Scope 3 emissions targets

Fortescue Metals Group has announced what it says is an industry-leading target to achieve net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040, addressing emissions across Fortescue’s entire global value chain, including crude steel manufacturing which accounts for 98% of the company’s Scope 3 emissions.

Fortescue’s approach to reducing Scope 3 emissions is to develop projects and technologies with a focus on reducing emissions from iron and steel making and to work with current and prospective customers on the application of the technology and the supply of green hydrogen and ammonia from Fortescue Future Industries (FFI). Fortescue will also prioritise the decarbonisation of its own fleet of eight ore carriers and engage with shipping partners to reduce, and aiming to eliminate, emissions from shipping.

FFI is targeting the production of 15 Mt of green hydrogen annually by 2030, which will underpin opportunities to work with customers and shipping partners on emissions reduction and elimination projects.

In addition to the long-term goal to achieve net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040, the following medium-term targets have been set:

  • Enable a reduction in emissions intensity levels from the shipping of Fortescue’s ores by 50% by 2030 from financial year (FY) 2021 levels; and
  • Enable a reduction in emissions intensity levels from steel making by Fortescue’s customers of 7.5% by 2030 from FY21 levels, to 100% by 2040.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation and at Fortescue, setting stretch targets is at the core of our culture and values and we are proud to set this goal to tackle emissions across our value chain.

“Fortescue has commenced its transition from a pure play iron ore producer to a green renewables and resources company, underpinned by the world’s first major carbon emission heavy industry operation to set a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. This Scope 3 target is consistent with this transition and complements our targets for Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction.

“Collaboration is integral to driving the rapid transition to green energy, and we remain committed to actively engaging with our customers, suppliers and other key industry participants to facilitate the reduction of emissions. This includes the development of technologies and the supply of green hydrogen and ammonia through FFI, which will provide significant opportunities for the steel, cement and land and sea transport industries to decarbonise.”

To achieve the target, Fortescue and FFI are focused on accelerating a number of key initiatives:

  • Conversion of existing maritime vessels, including Fortescue’s fleet of ore carriers, to be fuelled by green ammonia;
  • Supporting the adoption of green ammonia in new vessel construction;
  • Pursuing opportunities for emissions reduction and elimination in iron and steel making, facilitated by the use of renewable energy and green hydrogen; and
  • Research and development work to produce green iron and cement from Fortescue ores at low temperatures without coal.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth, said: “Our investments in technologies and research and development are focused on demonstrating that the production of iron ore, cement, iron and steel can operate with renewable energy.

“Our work to decarbonise Fortescue’s iron ore operations will position Fortescue as the first major supplier of green iron ore in the world, paving the way for production of green iron and a new green steel industry.”

Fortescue and Wintawari establish ‘culturally safe’ JV for Solomon Hub operations

Fortescue Metals Group and members of the Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation, the prescribed body corporate for the Eastern Guruma People, have today announced a co-management framework to oversee the development of new mines at Fortescue’s Solomon Hub operations in Western Australia.

Under the framework, Fortescue and members of Wintawari will establish a “culturally safe” mining joint venture to mine the East and West Queens deposits on Eastern Guruma country. The 10-year mine services contract to be awarded to the new joint venture is estimated to be worth over A$500 million ($367 million), making the contract the largest ever awarded to an Aboriginal business by Fortescue.

A working group will be formed to collaboratively work together on all stages of the mine development from heritage and environmental approvals, resource drilling and definition and mine planning to operations and rehabilitation, Fortescue says. The agreement builds on the decade-long relationship between the parties, which was formalised in a Land Access Agreement in December 2009.

Wintawari Chair, Glen Camille, said: “The establishment of this new co-management joint venture represents the next step in our journey with Fortescue. We are glad to work with Andrew Forrest and Fortescue to improve the economic outcomes for Aboriginal people and thank Andrew for his demonstrated commitment.

“Working collaboratively, we will ensure that Eastern Guruma people are active participants in the future development of mines on our country, enabling deeper consultation around the protection of culturally significant sites while building a better future for our people.”

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue is proud of our longstanding relationship with Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation. We are confident that this new collaborative framework will strengthen our ties with the Eastern Guruma People, through the unique opportunity to have a seat at the table to share cultural knowledge and guide the growth of Fortescue’s operations on their country.”

Fortescue Senior Manager Indigenous Communities, Heath Nelson, said: “In line with our approach to ensuring our Native Title Partners benefit from our growth and development, this joint venture will also deliver significant economic opportunities through employment and contracting opportunities.”

Fortescue Chairman and Founder, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, said: “It gives me enormous pride to bear witness to this framework, which will shape a new shared direction for Fortescue and the Eastern Guruma People. Together, we will provide enduring benefit for future generations, while preserving their unique culture and heritage.”

Swiss Tower Mills Minerals backs Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution

Swiss Tower Mills Minerals AG (STM) has become the latest sponsor to support the work of the not-for-profit Coalition for Eco-Efficient Comminution (CEEC).

An innovative company that has successfully translated the vertical stirred milling technology of industrial minerals to hard-rock minerals processing, STM’s support of CEEC’s work was a natural fit for the company, according to Managing Director, Ralf Hesemann.

“The uptake of new technology in the mining industry is traditionally a slow process,” Hesemann said. “Tapping into a trusted independent body that communicates the latest technical findings on efficient comminution practices is a win-win for both of us.

“I look forward to our collaboration.”

Swiss-based STM developed the Vertical Regrind Mill (VRM) and released it to the minerals market in 2012. More than 60 of the stirred media grinding mills have been sold to mines across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. For fine and ultra-fine grinding applications, it is marketed under the name HIGmill, through the exclusive partner Metso:Outotec. For coarse regrind applications, STM offers the VRM mill directly to customers in the minerals market.

Since the grinding principle of multi-compartment grinding offers substantial energy savings, a new stirred mill has been developed for coarse grinding applications up to 6 mm feed size, the Vertical Power Mill™ (VPM). Mill sizes range from 700 kW to 12,500 kW with high flow rates, and potential energy savings of up to 40%. Due to its small footprint, STM is marketing the VPM as a viable ball mill replacement in HPGR circuits or for capacity increase in existing plants.

The energy savings are achieved through uniquely designed rotors and stator rings in a vertical arrangement that enable high power intensities, even with relatively low tip speeds, STM says. This results in higher energy efficiency, a smaller footprint and the potential for increased recoveries. Power intensities of 200-300 kW/cu.m are typical, and operational tip speeds range between 6-12 m/s, depending on application and mill size.

CEEC Director, Chris Rule, said it was encouraging to see energy efficient, stirred media mills being installed by industry as a step towards more sustainable mining practices, in line with ESG considerations and net zero emissions commitments.

One of the first HIGmills be commissioned, in 2015, was a 700 kW mill for a copper concentrate regrind application at the Kevitsa mine in Finland. Several papers have been published on the energy efficiency and metallurgical performance of this mill, including an Outotec paper presented at Comminution Capetown 2016, and ‘A Review of Published Full-Scale Stirred Mill Results’ by Michael Larson, Molycop, USA, presented at the SAG 2019 Conference.

The technology will also be installed at the Iron Bridge Magnetite Project in Western Australia. The joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group and Formosa Steel IB Pty Ltd is the world’s first large-scale plant without horizontal milling. The flowsheet consists of a two-stage HPGR circuit feeding in total 10 advanced HIGmill grinding mills.

Rule said stirred mill grinding technology had been well proven for decades in industrial mineral applications such as in the opacifiers, fillers, ceramics, paint and pharmaceutical industries.

“We commend STM for translating this technology to mineral processing, offering miners an energy-efficient, low footprint alternative to high-intensity ball milling,” Rule said.

“Having STM on board as a CEEC sponsor means greater opportunities for us to learn about and share alternative comminution approaches. This support from our valued sponsors over the past 10 years is what enables CEEC to help keep industry aware of demonstrated advances that help mining leaders tackle the challenges of reducing the energy consumption, emissions and overall footprint of their operations.”

Hesemann said declining ore quality meant energy efficient comminution was becoming a more critical stage for realising profit.

“We’re proud of the part our technology plays in lowering the footprint of mineral processing, while at the same time decreasing capital expenditure and operating expenditure and improving the bottom line.

“Being a CEEC sponsor will enable us to more widely share any advances in this field, as well as learning from the global network of industry experts that CEEC brings together through its events and online resources.”

Pictured is the factory acceptance test success for a new 50,000 litre Vertical Regrind Mill (VRM50000)

SIMPEC to construct wet process plant at Iron Bridge magnetite project

SIMPEC has been awarded a A$145 million ($107 million) contract for the construction of a wet process plant for the Iron Bridge magnetite project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The WestStar Industrial subsidiary has been contracted by Iron Bridge Operations Pty Ltd, a company representing the joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd and Formosa Steel IB Pty Ltd.

The wet processing plant is a significant part of the new magnetite mine at Iron Bridge, which will be central to the production of 22 Mt/y (wet) of 67% Fe magnetite concentrate product.

SIMPEC is to supply vertical construction services for the contract, with an anticipated workforce of more than 500 personnel. The contract is expected to commence immediately with works due to be completed by the middle of 2022.

SIMPEC’s part of the project consists of major module installation, tank installation, major mechanical installation, large bore piping and a significant portion of supply and installation of electrical and instrumentation works.

Fortescue, in its June quarter results, released today, said the Iron Bridge project was expecting first production by December 2022 and a ramp-up period of 12-18 months before reaching capacity.

Fortescue hits new automation milestone in the Pilbara

Fortescue Metals Group’s autonomous haulage (AHS) fleet has marked a significant milestone, moving two billion tonnes of material, doubling the amount hauled since reaching the one billion tonne milestone in September 2019.

In 2012, Fortescue was the first in the world to deploy Caterpillar’s AHS technology on a commercial scale at its Solomon Hub operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia and the multi-class fleet has since expanded across the company’s operations with a total of 193 autonomous trucks now in operation.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue is a leader in the implementation of autonomous haulage across our iron ore operations. Our fleet represents one of the largest in the world, with 79 trucks currently in operation at Solomon, 74 at Christmas Creek and 40 at Cloudbreak. Moving over two billion tonnes of material without a driver at the wheel is a significant milestone and a reflection of Fortescue’s ongoing commitment to increasing operational efficiency through technology and innovation.

“Most importantly, the introduction of AHS technology has led to significant safety improvements for our team members, with our fleet safely travelling over 70 million kilometres to date – the equivalent of 91 return trips to the moon.”

The continued expansion of autonomous capability across the business has demonstrated that autonomy doesn’t need to be at the expense of jobs, with the transition to autonomous haulage providing significant new opportunities for Fortescue’s workforce through the provision of training and redeployment to new roles, Fortescue said.

Gaines added: “Significantly, the adoption of autonomous haulage has allowed us to relocate many traditional site-based roles to our integrated operations centre in Perth, providing opportunities for parents and women in particular to remain engaged in our workforce. Today, almost 50% of our workforce in the Fortescue Hive are women.”

Warraikal to provide maintenance and shutdown services to Fortescue’s Pilbara ops

Following a competitive tender process, Warrikal Pty Ltd, has been awarded a five-year A$350 million ($263 million) contract as one of the providers of maintenance and shutdown services across Fortescue’s Pilbara operations.

Founded by Koori businesswoman, Amanda Healy, and her business partners, Roy Messer and David Flett, Warrikal was established in 2017 to provide innovative engineering solutions across the mining, marine and resource sectors. The company has been providing mechanical maintenance, shutdown and project services across Fortescue’s sites over the last three years.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Fortescue is committed to supporting sustainable long-term opportunities for Aboriginal businesses. Procurement is one of the most powerful levers for social and economic change, and from experience we know that a strong Aboriginal business sector is best placed to create employment and development opportunities for their communities.

“I am pleased to announce this significant contract with Warrikal, the largest to be awarded by Fortescue and also among the biggest contracts to be awarded in Australia to a majority-owned Aboriginal business.”

Warrikal Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Healy, said the contract built on the company’s longstanding relationship with Fortescue.

“We look forward to further developing our relationship over coming years, continuing to grow our operational footprint in the northwest of Western Australia and strengthening our long-term commitment to the region and the communities in which we operate.

“The award of this contract and the continual business growth is a testament to our amazing personnel and our reputation for delivering ‘Innovative Engineering Solutions’ across multiple disciplines, whilst maintaining a high standard of safety and quality as a true reflection of each and every Warrikal team member.”

Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities program was established in 2011 as part of the company’s commitment to deliver business development opportunities for Aboriginal people with a strong focus on Traditional Custodian involvement. Since its inception, the program has awarded over A$3 billion in contracts to Aboriginal businesses and joint ventures.

Fortescue’s battery and hydrogen truck, drill developments move to testing phase

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), the 100% renewable green energy and industry initiative of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, says it has reached its June 30, 2021 targets for initial decarbonisation projects, with headway made on its hydrogen, ammonia and battery power projects.

FFI CEO, Julie Shuttleworth, said the company set out to test the hypothesis that there was sufficient 100% renewable green energy, hydrogen, ammonia and industrial manufacturing potential, for products such as green cement, green fertiliser, green iron and steel, “to fully satisfy the world’s needs”.

“To demonstrate this within Fortescue, we set ambitious decarbonisation targets for our own heavy industry,” she said. “These are being driven by FFI’s Green Team, who are aiming to eliminate carbon emissions from our own operations. This work commenced in earnest only several months ago and the results have been immense.”

FFI’s Green Team has established a facility at Hazelmere in Perth, Western Australia, where it has been managing and trialling technology on hydrogen, ammonia and battery power for trains, ship engines, haul trucks and drill rigs for technology demonstration.

The “ground-breaking progress” to date includes:

  • Successful combustion of ammonia in a locomotive fuel, with a pathway to achieve completely renewable green fuel;
  • Completion of design and construction of a combustion testing device for large marine (ship) engines, with pilot test work underway and a pathway to achieve completely renewable green shipping fuel;
  • Finalised design of a next generation ore carrier (ship) that will consume renewable green ammonia, with the Classification Society giving in principle design approval;
  • Testing of battery cells to be used on Fortescue haul trucks – a project it is pursuing with Williams Advanced Engineering;
  • Design and construction of a hydrogen-powered haul truck for technology demonstration complete, with systems testing underway;
  • Design and construction of a hydrogen powered drill rig for technology demonstration complete, with systems testing underway;
  • Successful production of high purity (>97%) green iron from Fortescue ores at low temperature in a continuous flow process; and
  • Successful initial trialling to use waste from the green iron process noted above, with other easily sourced materials, to make green cement.

Back in March, Fortescue said it would accelerate its carbon neutrality efforts, now expecting to achieve this ‘green’ milestone by 2030, 10 years earlier than its previous target.

Fortescue CEO, Elizabeth Gaines said the company was using its large industrial platform of operating mine sites in the Pilbara to trial and demonstrate technologies in completely renewable green hydrogen, green ammonia and green electricity.

She added: “All of us at Fortescue are committed to its decarbonisation. Our great progress to date and our ongoing projects underpin Fortescue’s plan to become a major renewable energy and industry product exporter. As part of this plan, we are aiming to meet or beat our internal global industry-leading target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Fortescue backs Pilbara mine site rehabilitation CRC project

The Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME), along with partners Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue), University of Western Australia (UWA) and Curtin University (Curtin), have announced a new project focusing on increasing plant nutrients in iron ore waste, enabling improved mine site rehabilitation in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The 12-month project is centred around the Fortescue’s Chichester Hub mine site and includes experimental glasshouse-based and laboratory testing undertaken at UWA, along with microbiology expertise from Curtin.

“The Pilbara region has a very thin layer of top soil which is essential for plant growth and is disrupted through mining,” CRC TiME said. “This project will formulate a process to increase plant available nutrient levels, specifically nitrogen for this study, in mineral waste (waste rock and tailings) and stockpiled soils (subsoils and topsoil) using novel plant-microbe systems, to improve the rehabilitation post-mining.”

Kirsty Beckett, Principal of Mine Closure at Fortescue, said: “This project is addressing a critical issue for the mining industry as available topsoil is a key limiting factor in the rehabilitation of large tracts of mining affected land. These areas can cover up to half of some of the Fortescue’s mine sites.”

CRC TiME CEO, Dr Guy Boggs, added: “Post-mining landscapes require the establishment of self-sustaining ecosystems over heavily altered landscapes constructed from mineral waste. Effectively and efficiently converting these landscapes into self-sustaining ecosystems delivers both environmental and financial benefits and provides more certainty on ecosystem resilience.”

CRC TiME receives grant funding from the Australian Government through the Cooperative Research Centre Program.

Australian government backs mining and metal sector decarbonising initiative

A new Cooperative Research Centre focused on integrating green energy sources such as hydrogen, ammonia and solar into high-heat and high-emission manufacturing processes for products like steel, aluminium and cement has won Australia government backing.

The Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC), to be led by the University of Adelaide, has been provided with A$39 million ($29 million) of funding through the CRC Grants program. It is also backed by an additional A$175.7 million in funding and in-kind support from research and industry partners such as Alcoa, Rio Tinto Aluminium, South32, Roy Hill, Fortescue Metals Group, the Australian National University and the CSIRO.

South Australia Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said the CRC would help to secure the future of heavy industries right across the country by helping them to lower costs and establish a reputation as exporters of high-quality, low-carbon, value-added products.

“In order to remain internationally competitive, it is crucial that our heavy industries begin the transition to lower cost and cleaner energy technology to secure the long-term future of their operations,” Minister Porter said. “By connecting those industries with our best and brightest minds from within our major research institutions – coupled with the significant funding that’s now available to fast-track this work – we expect real-world solutions can be delivered within the 10-year life of the CRC.”

Dr David Cochrane, who is Technology Lead at core CRC partner South32 and also an industry leader of the HILT CRC, said: “The HILT CRC will play an important role in transitioning to a low-carbon future by creating a framework for industry to collaborate, sharing knowledge and experience while lowering the risk of trialling technology.

“For South32, we have recently set medium-term targets to halve our operational emissions by 2035 as we transition to net zero by 2050 and initiatives like the HILT CRC are part of our plan to achieve these targets.”

Susan Jeanes, who is Chair-elect of the HILT CRC, said: “Decarbonising Australia’s heavy industry will position it to be competitive in the rapidly developing, global low carbon markets for green iron and aluminium products that have higher value than our current exports. These new markets are being driven by our trading partners in countries like China, Japan and Europe, which are introducing a range of financial measures to meet their carbon targets, such as EU’s Carbon Border Tax.

“Our mineral resources geographically co-exist around the continent with our first-class renewable energy resources making decarbonising more competitive here than in other parts of the world.”

John Holland on track at Fortescue’s Eliwana iron ore project

Infrastructure and rail company, John Holland, says it has achieved a major milestone at the Eliwana Mine and Rail project by successfully laying the final piece of 143 km of heavy haul rail track in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The track works are part of a A$130 million ($90 million) contract with Fortescue Metals Group, which will also see an extension to the existing signalling and train control systems and a traffic capacity upgrade to communication infrastructure.

When completed, the greenfield project will connect the new Eliwana iron ore mine to the existing Fortescue Hammersley Line.

The John Holland team will now focus on final destressing works for 130 km of the track, siding extension works, final grinding and correction. Final ballasting and tamping work for about 60 km of the track is on schedule. All remaining track works are to be completed by June 2021, the company said. The signalling and communication works are well ahead of schedule to be delivered by the end of 2021, it added.

John Holland Rail Delivery Manager, John Ma, said the team had worked hard to ensure the project progressed despite weather and access challenges throughout the course of construction.

“The safe unloading of the last long weld rail off the final rail train on the Eliwana project was a significant moment for us,” he said. “It’s a huge undertaking – more than 240,000 sleepers were laid as well as 400,000 t of ballast dropped with more than 12,000 welds joining the tracks together.

“Working in a remote and often volatile environment has its challenges, but I am proud that the team were able to demonstrate our capability to manage complex logistics and high-production welding facilities while enabling efficient project delivery.”

Remaining track work is scheduled to be completed by late June, while signalling construction will be complete by the end of August. Testing and integration of the track will be finalised in December.

Around 90 km west of Tom Price, the Eliwana mine celebrated the production of its first ore in December 2020. At full capacity, the mine will produce 30 Mt/y.