ESG targets, Fortescue, News, Project approval

Fortescue expands WA reach

Fortescue decarbonisation

Fortescue has applied for tenements in Western Australia that cover 150,000 hectares (ha) of land, as reported by the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

The new WA tenement package is located near Fortescue’s WA iron ore mines, and is intended to be used for renewable energy projects. It reportedly covers an area twice the size of Singapore.

The move was made after it was revealed the major miner abandoned plans to build a 5.4-gigawatt renewable energy hub in the Pilbara region of WA.

For Fortescue to reach its 2030 emissions target, it will need between two and three gigawatts of renewable energy and battery storage in order to stop using fossil fuels at its mining operations.

The AFR has now reported a Fortescue spokesperson said the company hasn’t settled on a plan to reach the target and declined to estimate the land required.

“We continuously review and optimise the best way to achieve this objective (decarbonisation by 2030),” a Fortescue spokesman said.

“This optimisation includes both the best mix of technologies, including wind and solar, as well as the best geographical areas to install these technologies. As part of this ongoing optimisation, we have identified multiple areas east of our Iron Bridge operation that are potentially suitable to support our decarbonisation plans.”

Fortescue terminated the WA Environmental Protection Authority approval applications for Uaroo in October, with Fortescue chief executive officer Dino Otranto previously implying that the hub plans had been redundant for a while.

“Uaroo wasn’t part of the decarbonisation energy requirement, it was more for the ammonia export requirement,” Otranto said.

“As we are maturing our understanding of sun and wind intensity, you will see things coming in and coming out of the portfolio.

“From the decarbonisation agenda we have for metals, we have a clear line of sight of all the land we need. In fact, we have got land we have already approved, basically old parts of our mining lease that we are building on.”

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