Fortescue to replicate iron ore success with renewables

Fortescue Metals Group has committed itself to growing the renewable energy portion of its business as it sets its sights on competing with fossil fuel companies.

Announced at the company’s annual general meeting (AGM), the new Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) business arm hopes to deliver high quality green hydrogen and green ammonia from projects across the globe.

Fortescue founder and chairman Andrew Forrest said the company was aiming to repeat its iron ore success with renewables by operating entire supply chains.

“We’re building a very major renewable energy and green industry business at global scale,” he said.

“We now own entire supply chains… That’s our plan for the renewable energy sector, we’re planning to repeat this track record.”

Forrest said FFI would create 235 gigawatts of installed energy capacity, which is larger than Chevron’s energy production last year.

“Once we can create sufficient renewable energy and sufficient renewable fuels where we can guarantee — like the oil and gas sector can guarantee reliable supply at volume and at scale — that there will be a variable stampede into renewable energy,” he said.

“When we as Fortescue, the pioneer, can really lead the way of large volume, low cost, green hydrogen and green ammonia shipped around the world, then you’ll see others join and you will begin to see the commercial driving end of climate change.

“What we now know is that the world is never short and never will be short of renewable energy. Can we capture it in some scale, and with technology and determination drive its cost down to such a level that it can successfully compete against fossil fuel? I believe it will.”

During the AGM, Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines also praised the company’s record performance in the 2020 financial year.

“The Fortescue values that have guided us for the last 17 years have shone their brightest during 2020. By keeping our values of safety and family at the heart of every decision we made, we kept our team, our families and our communities safe,” Gaines said.

“We are especially proud of how the mining sector came together to manage the industry-wide issues as a collective, sharing best practice, caring for our most vulnerable and forming a united front.

“Significantly, we clearly demonstrated that Australia is a reliable supplier of commodities to global markets and we sustained our strong contribution to the West Australian and national economies.”

Gaines also highlighted the importance of Aboriginal leaders as part of Fortescue’s work culture as the company invited 24 participants from its Leadership and Excellence in Aboriginal People (LEAP) program to the AGM.

“We believe that Aboriginal leaders are critical to enabling a work culture that truly supports Aboriginal people and ensures they have the opportunity to develop and grow,” Gaines said.

“Fortescue is proud to be one of the largest employers of Aboriginal people in Australia and during NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week, we are pleased to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of our Aboriginal team mates across all of our operations.”

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