Major Aussie iron ore miner Fortescue has cut the ribbon on a new battery innovation hub in the UK. Aimed at developing battery-electric technology for its haul truck and vehicle fleet alongside a new electrified motorsport series, the $23 million facility will employ “300 highly skilled workers”, according to Fortescue.

The opening comes with a statement by the company that it remains on track to meet its Scope 1 and 2 decarbonisation effort, due to be completed by 2030.

Despite scrapping the idea of hydrogen haul truck technology, Fortescue is still planning on developing its battery-electric technology at scale. This will allow other miners and industrials to purchase items to help them decarbonise.

Some of the first batteries produced at the Kidlington UK site will be used to power Fortescue’s prototype 240-tonne mining haul trucks in Australia. According to Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder of Fortescue, the technical innovation centre in Kidlington will drive decarbonisation in motorsports and lead the way to reducing emissions in heavy industry as well. 

“Fortescue bought Britain’s best racing battery maker not only to help decarbonise our own operations but to help other businesses to adopt zero-emission technologies as well, and cement the UK as a green technology and manufacturing leader,” he added. 

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BHP’s Big Year Continues

BHP remains Australia’s largest company and the most prominent mining firm in the world, with recent performance underlining why. With a strong presence in copper mining and refining, BHP has upped its production of the critical mineral by a considerable 11% in the third quarter of 2023. Copper is in high demand as the energy transition progresses, and BHP has a suite of assets capable of growing to meet the global market.

The company operates the world’s largest copper mine, located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. In the 2022/23 financial year, it produced a staggering 1.72 million metric tons of copper. Increasing output from about 1.57 million metric tons in the previous year.

BHP has bolstered its copper stocks by purchasing Oz Minerals earlier this year, which owned several copper mining assets in South Australia. Its new Prominent Hill and Carrapateena mines in the region, and part of the OZ deal, are performing well, with production up 44% in the year. According to its quarterly operational review, the company remains confident in delivering full-year production and unit cost guidance across all its assets.

“Pleasingly, integration of the Olympic Dam, Prominent Hill and Carrapateena assets has gone well, with strong operational performance and continued focus on safe and reliable production, particularly at Olympic Dam and Carrapateena,” BHP said in a statement. 


Rinehart Sinks Albermarle’s Aussie Lithium Dream

After reporting last week on Gina Rinehart’s backdoor play for Lionheart Resources, the deal has now been officially torpedoed. After American miner Albermarle offered $3 per share for Liontown and its enviable lithium assets, Australia’s richest woman was quick to purchase a blocking stake in the company, effectively sinking Albermarle’s takeover hopes. 

Rinehart has now gobbled up almost 20% of Liontown on the open market, making her the company’s largest part-owner.

She hasn’t yet revealed if she plans to launch her own takeover bid or request a seat on the board. Meanwhile, her primary focus appears to have been blocking the American offer. The death of the $6.6 billion deal has seen Liontown’s shares enter a trading halt as it tries to secure funding for a proposed $951m development with the US firm. 

According to a statement released by Rhinehart’s Hancock Prospecting firm, it looks forward to building a ‘prominent influence’ in Liontown’s future.


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