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Australia's Fortescue readies $600 million green push in US market

Mining company will also invest about $200 million across two green projects in its home country

Image: Fortescue

Australian mining company Fortescue announced about $800 million in investments over the next three years, mainly in the US, where it is seeking greater market exposure and setting up a capital unit. 

The company said it would invest about $550 million in a US hydrogen hub at Phoenix in Arizona, where it will develop an 80 MW electrolyzer and liquefaction facility. The unit will have production capacity of up to 11,000 tonnes a year of liquid green hydrogen and is expected to begin production in 2026. 

In addition, Fortescue will also invest about $200 million across two projects in Australia: $150 million in the 50 MW Gladstone green hydrogen project in Queensland, and $50 million in the Christmas Creek green iron trial commercial plant in Western Australia. 

The Gladstone GH2 project will have capacity of up to 22 tonnes per day of green hydrogen and be developed using Fortescue's own proprietary membrane technology. Construction is expected to start next year, and the plant will come up next to the company's already-existing electrolyzer manufacturing unit. 

Fortescue is ramping-up its focus on the US. In the last few days, the company has unveiled plans to set up an advanced manufacturing center in Michigan at an investment of $35 million. The company expects the facility to become a major hub for the production of automotive and heavy industry batteries, hydrogen generators, fast chargers, and electrolyzers, while also helping Fortescue avail tax credits under the US Inflation Reduction Act for battery modules up to $10 per kilowatt per hour. 

The company also plans to set up an office in New York under Fortescue Capital, with a focus on luring more investment into its green energy companies. The company named Robert Tichio as CEO and Managing Partner; he will be joined by a senior leadership team with a global background across sustainable infrastructure, climate technology, energy and private markets. 

In a release, the company said that Fortescue Capital was being developed as a fiduciary for third-party capital, to complement the internal corporate finance teams at already existing at Fortescue's Energy and Metals divisions. 

The unit's funding models will differ on a project-by-project basis as projects are formally approved by the Fortescue board. Fortescue expects to hold stakes of between 25 percent and 50 percent in projects, with outside investors – the potential partners include sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, endowments, insurance companies and ultra-high net worth family offices – holding the balance. 

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