Fortescue approves $750 million investment for three green projects

Credit: Fortescue Future Industries

Australia’s Fortescue approved on Tuesday an estimated total investment of about $750 million over the next three years for two green energy projects and one green steel project as the iron ore miner seeks to become a top-tier clean energy producer.

Fortescue approved investments in the US hydrogen hub in Phoenix, Arizona; the Gladstone 50 megawatt green hydrogen project in Queensland, Australia; and the Christmas Creek green iron trial commercial plant in Western Australia.

About $550 million will be used for developing an electrolyser and liquefaction facility in Phoenix, where first production of liquid green hydrogen is targeted for 2026.

The world’s fourth-largest iron ore maker, which is expanding into production of hydrogen from renewable resources with its Fortescue Energy unit, said it had also decided to fast-track projects in Brazil, Kenya and Norway.

“It’s a positive because it turns no information into some information,” said analyst David Coates of BellPotter in Sydney. “It’s still difficult to quantify what investment returns are going to look like… I think some of the market’s concerns will be allayed because the capital investment required is pretty minimal in the scheme of things.”

Fortescue is stepping up its push into the US markets.

In the past few days, it has unveiled plans to set up an advanced manufacturing centre in Michigan and an office in New York, Fortescue Capital, to lure more investment to its green energy companies.

Under a plan to ramp up its green energy business, Fortescue said in August it would stop allocating 10% of its net profit to that unit. Instead, projects and investments would compete for capital allocation, with additional flows from outside investors.

Fortescue expects to hold stakes of 25% to 50% in projects with outside investors.

At Tuesday’s annual general meeting, shareholders voted against a remuneration resolution after the board approved special payments to retiring executives that advisers said were out of line with industry practice.

Fortescue shares were up 1% on Tuesday in a strong market for iron ore miners, with peers BHP and Rio Tinto up 1.5% and 2% respectively.

(By Himanshi Akhand; Editing by Richard Chang and Clarence Fernandez)


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