Fortescue Metals Group has made plans to further diversify outside iron ore with the construction of a manufacturing hub in Queensland for renewable energy and green hydrogen.
Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) – Fortescue’s renewable energy and hydrogen business arm – will build the Global Green Energy Manufacturing centre (GEM) in Gladstone, 500 kilometres north of Brisbane.
FFI chairman and founder Andrew Forrest said this was a significant piece of Fortescue’s business evolution.
“Fortescue is again ahead of the curve and we are immensely proud to be pioneering a Global Green Energy Manufacturing centre in Gladstone,” Forrest said.
“This initiative is a critical step in Fortescue’s transition from a significant and success pure play iron ore producer, to a significant and successful integrated renewables and green resources powerhouse.”
The first of six construction stages will be the world’s largest electrolyser – which breaks water into hydrogen and oxygen – at two gigawatts of power per annum.
Construction will commence in February 2022, creating 120 construction jobs and 53 initial operational jobs, as the entire GEM project looks to create more than 300 jobs in total.
The project is expected to cost up to $US650 million ($888 million), with the electrolyser making up $83 million.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said this was a momentous occasion for Queensland’s economy.
“Our economic recovery plan is all about creating more jobs and creating more opportunities for traditional and emerging industries, particularly in manufacturing,” he said
“FFI could have built this facility anywhere in Australia.
“The fact they chose Queensland says volumes about our state’s advanced plan to use our sun, wind and water to create new jobs and new businesses in regional Queensland.”
A host of Queensland ministers joined Forrest and Dick in the announcement, including Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Deputy Premier Steven Miles, Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni, and Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher.