Fortescue fast-tracks ‘ambitious’ carbon-neutral target

Ore processing facility at Solomon. Image: Fortescue Metals Group

Fortescue Metals Group has received an environmental approval to construct and operate a gas-fired power station at the Solomon iron ore mine in Western Australia.

This will contribute towards Fortescue’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2040, an endeavour that the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) chair Tom Hatton said was strongly supported by the EPA.

The power station will include 14 gas-fired reciprocating engines with a combined maximum installed capacity of 165 megawatt.

The approval comes with a requirement for Fortescue to commit to a 2 per cent year-on-year net greenhouse gas emission reduction up to 2030 and a net zero position by 2040.

“As per the EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions guidance, we have recommended that (Fortescue subsidiary, Pilbara Energy Generation) be required to publicly report on its progress towards meeting the emission reduction targets outlined in its greenhouse gas management plan,” Hatton said.

The power station is expected to emit more than 670,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year and replace the need for 221 megawatt Iron Birdge power station, which would have resulted in around 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The proposal is sitting with the Minister for Environment awaiting a final decision.

In addition to this emission reduction effort, Fortescue has signed an agreement with Hyundai Motor Company and CSIRO to accelerate the development of renewable hydrogen technology.

This involves the development and future commercialisation of CSIRO’s metal membrane technology.

Hyundai will aim to apply the technology on renewable hydrogen production and vehicle fuelling in Korea, which can play a role in supporting low emissions transport.

“This important strategic partnership with Hyundai and the CSIRO signals Fortescue’s ongoing commitment to the ramp up of a competitive domestic and global renewable hydrogen industry, to support the transition to a lower carbon future,” Fortescue deputy chief executive Julie Shuttleworth said.

“It builds on our investment in new hydrogen technologies that ensures Fortescue is well-positioned to meet the demand for hydrogen as both an export opportunity and to contribute to the decarbonisation of our operations in the Pilbara.”

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