Aug 13

Fortescue sees “violent” change as it pushes for net zero emissions by 2030

Mar 15, 2021
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group, the world’s fourth largest iron ore miner, set out an ambitious plan on Monday to become carbon neutral by 2030, bringing forward the target by ten years as it aims to start producing green hydrogen as soon as 2023.
Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest predicted the world’s conversion to green energy and green products would occur “almost violently” compared to most forecasts, which assumed hydrogen produced from renewable energy would only become commercially viable in the 2030s.
“As of today’s announcement, all those calculations will have to change,” Forrest told reporters.
Fortescue gave no cost estimate for achieving its goal and said it was still working to calculate how much hydrogen it would need to meet the carbon neutral target. Forrest said the company would only use carbon offsets as a last resort to help meet the goal.
Fortescue Future Industries aims to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia which would help it replace 1 billion litres a year of diesel at the miner’s own operations while also creating clean fuel alternatives for others, including steel makers who use metallurgical coal.
“I don’t think there’ll be a coal-fired blast furnace in operation by 2050, period,” Forrest told reporters.
Green hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel made by using renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. It is increasingly promoted as a way to decarbonise emissions-intensive heavy industry and long haul transport.
The announcement comes as peers Rio Tinto and BHP Group step up their drive towards renewable energy, and investors increasingly press firms to disclose, track and meet emissions targets.
Unlike its peers, Fortescue does not disclose estimates of customer emissions, arguing that would be double counting under the United Nations framework, which mandates nations take responsibility for emissions within their borders.
Fortescue said it will incorporate carbon emission targets into its short- and long-term pay incentives across the company.
Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sonali Paul and Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Sam Holmes & Simon Cameron-Moore
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