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Regional workers the winners as Fortescue Future Industries announces Global Green Energy Manufacturing Centre in Queensland

Media Release 10 October 2021
Photo: Cameron Laird (www.cameronlaird.com)

Thousands of jobs will be created by the construction of the world’s largest electrolyser, renewable industry and equipment factory at Gladstone, Queensland, with the first stage announced by Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and the Queensland Government today.

FFI’s Global Green Energy Manufacturing Centre (GEM) will be the first step in a series of projects that will continue to transform regional Australia through green industry manufacturing and energy production centres.

GEM will be delivered in specialist production lines according to the requirements of FFI and its customers, including the manufacture of wind turbines, long-range electric cabling, solar photovoltaic cells, electrolysers and associated infrastructure.

Stage one of the six-stage project will establish Australia’s first multi-gigawatt-scale electrolyser factory, with an initial capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW) per annum – more than doubling current global production. Stage one will also deliver hundreds of jobs in both construction and over its project lifetime. Fortescue plans to establish its first Vocational Training and Employment centre (VTEC) in Queensland at GEM, in addition to Trade Up and Leadership and Excellence programs, with a strong focus on giving a hand up to Traditional Custodians.

Subject to customer demand, the total investment could be up to or in excess of AU$1 billion as orders firm for electrolysers and other green industry equipment. The initial electrolyser investment is expected to be up to AU$114 million, with the first electrolysers scheduled for production in early 2023.

GEM will welcome the supply of green energy manufactured products to other customers. FFI’s own requirements will underwrite GEM’s initial growth. Construction will begin in February 2022, pending final approvals.

FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth AM said, “FFI’s goal is to become the world’s leading, integrated, fully renewable energy and green products company, powering the Australian economy and creating jobs for Australia as we transition away from fossil fuels. Our manufacturing arm, starting with electrolysers and expanding to all other required green industry products, will herald great potential for green manufacturing and employment in regional Australia.

“Our first facility in Gladstone will become an epicentre for Queensland’s green hydrogen ambitions, building on its skilled workforce, its great foresight in industrial master-planning, a world class port, and a constructive and supportive State Government,” Ms Shuttleworth said.

FFI Chairman and Founder, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, said, “As GEM develops according to FFI’s own requirements and other customer needs, manufacturing will come roaring back to regional Australia, creating many thousands of jobs.

“Fortescue is again ahead of the curve and we are immensely proud to be pioneering a Global Green Energy Manufacturing Centre in Gladstone.

“This initiative is a critical step in Fortescue’s transition from a highly successful pure play iron ore producer, to an even more successful green renewables and resources powerhouse.”