Australian mining magnate plans global green energy drive
Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest has outlined ambitious plans to build a renewable energy business, aiming to compete with oil giants to provide low-cost green energy globally.
The billionaire owner of Fortescue Metals Group – the world’s fourth-biggest iron ore miner - says Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has signed preliminary deals in countries like Papua New Guinea, as well as in African countries, and a team of executives is looking for other partners.
“We are building a portfolio of renewable assets, energy producing assets around the world,” Forrest, Fortescue’s chairman, told the company’s annual meeting via video link from Paraguay, according to a Reuters report.
He adds that Fortescue has already committed £550 million out to 2023 for the project and expects to use off-balance sheet financing for it as well.
“With scale and innovation, we will be able to ramp up supply of green hydrogen and green ammonia to deliver low cost energy reliably at industrial scale to customers all over the world,” he states, explaining that hydrogen and ammonia fuel cells are set to be used in transport and shipping, ammonia in fertiliser and hydrogen also in steel making.
Forrest, whose net worth is estimated at around £13 billion, says that the company’s initial target would be to have 235 gigawatts (GW) of installed energy capacity, but did not provide a timeline for when this would happen.
Gero Farruggio, head of global renewables at research firm Rystad Energy Farruggio, says that such a target would be extremely challenging to achieve, pointing out that energy major BP, by comparison, plans to produce 50GW of renewable energy by 2030.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Forrest has been touring the world and says that executives have visited 23 countries to shortlist partners for the venture, and plan to visit 24 more, with investments tied to human rights obligations and equal opportunities.
Fortescue has committed its own operations to be carbon neutral by 2040 and has been accumulating licenses and patents during the last five years to further its plans.
Forrest’s net worth has tripled over the last year, according to Australia’s Financial Review Rich List. Fortescue posted a net profit of £3.5 billion in 2019, due to a mix of high prices for iron ore and better margins for its products.
De Beers passes Newmont to lead ESG ranking of global miners
The world’s biggest diamond producer may not be the first name that comes to mind in a ranking of top environmental, social and governance (ESG) performers. But that’s what the latest industry survey revealed.
De Beers scored the highest in London-based Alva’s quarterly rating of ESG perceptions this week gleaned from publicly available content from social media to NGO research. The unit of Anglo American Plc snagged the top spot in the first quarter from gold heavyweight Newmont due to an increased focus on equality and sustainability.
The report showed the mining industry as a whole lifted its ESG rating amid a string of greenhouse-gas pledges, which offset water management and waste concerns. Companies around the world, particularly raw-material producers, are stepping up sustainability efforts amid heightened scrutiny by the general public and investors. ESG and value-focused exchange-traded funds recorded net inflows of $89 billion in 2020, almost three times 2019 levels, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
Sibanye Stillwater Ltd. scored the second-highest in Alva’s ratings report and showed the biggest improvement from the previous quarter due to its partnership with Johnson Matthey Plc to find more efficient uses of critical metals used in batteries.
Vale SA scored the lowest ESG rating despite reaching a settlement with Brazilian authorities over a 2019 dam disaster. Vale’s result “is a combination of greater visibility around the original negative story and then dissenting voices on the settlement itself,” said Alastair Pickering, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Alva.