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The Minderoo Foundation and Fortescue Future Industries establish opportunities in Afghanistan

Media Release 13 February 2021
River running through valley

Fortescue Future Industries Pty Ltd (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (Fortescue), and the Government of Afghanistan have signed Deeds of Agreement to undertake studies for the development of hydropower and geothermal projects for green industries, as well as studies across a range of mineral resources.

Subject to the completion of feasibility studies and approvals, individual projects will be developed by Fortescue Future Industries with ownership and project finance sources to be separately secured without recourse to Fortescue.

The major objectives of FFI in the development of any projects in Afghanistan are:

  1. Local Afghan Workforce
    In cooperation with the vocational training systems of the national Government, FFI will be responsible for the operation of all projects, upskilling and deploying an entirely Afghan leadership and operations team and building the technical and organisational capacity of local and national communities.
  2. Eradication of Modern Slavery
    Each of FFI’s projects will be supported by the Government of Afghanistan’s dedication to eradicate modern slavery.
  3. Equal Job Opportunities
    The Government of Afghanistan and FFI have agreed that any development will provide equal job opportunities for women and men, with an overall workforce target of a 50/50 ratio.
  4. Equal Education Opportunities
    The Government of Afghanistan and FFI have agreed to a commitment by the Government to enhance equal education outcomes for girls and boys.
  5. Independent Financing
    Projects that are executed into operations will be financed independently of Fortescue’s balance sheet.

Under the Deed of Agreement for Green Industries in Afghanistan, FFI and the Government of Afghanistan will investigate the feasibility of potential projects for development of Afghanistan’s hydropower and geothermal resources to support green industrial operations, for domestic consumption and export to global markets. Under a separate Agreement, the parties will work together on studies for potential resource projects including infrastructure development across a number of commodities.

FFI is underpinned by Fortescue’s culture and values which is responsible for the Company’s world leading project execution, operational excellence and proven capability to drive growth.

Separately, the Minderoo Foundation has also entered into Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Afghanistan, around important philanthropic initiatives focused on education and health. The main objectives of Minderoo are to assist the development of:

  1. Women’s Cancer
    Aiding Afghanistan increasing the survival rate of victims of breast cancer, ovarian and uterine cancer.
  2. Scholarships
    Fully funded scholarships through the Forrest Research Foundation.
  3. Thrive by Five
    Early childhood development through distribution of the Thrive by Five parenting digital application, written to conform with the Afghan culture.
  4. Aiding healthcare management
    Assisting Afghanistan fill the gaps in its health system through the introduction of partnerships and an Australian/Afghanistan training program of hospital administration leaders.

Chairman of Minderoo and Fortescue, Dr Andrew Forrest AO said, "We are proud to be joining with the Government of Afghanistan to announce these nation and community building agreements, particularly around education and health as they are at the very heart of any country’s development.”

“The Government of Afghanistan has committed to a work environment free of slavery when working with FFI, will provide equal employment for women and men and will ensure equality in educational outcomes for girls and boys,” he said.

Minderoo’s Thrive by Five initiative aims to ensure all children have the best start to life. Under the MOU, it will assist the Government in developing a digital application, and other learning materials, to ensure parents have access to skills to enhance the development of their children.

The Foundation will also help the Government of Afghanistan develop its best and brightest minds by providing research fellowships for the country’s leading academics to work on collaborative research projects in Western Australia and aid the country’s fight against cancer. Minderoo’s Collaborate Against Cancer initiative will support the development of Telehealth services to train female health professionals in the monitoring of diseases such as breast, ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer.

The First Vice President of the Government of Afghanistan, Mr Amrullah Saleh observed “we are delighted that one of the world’s leading resource companies not only visited our country but held detailed and comprehensive discussions with experts from all over Afghanistan, in order to form agreements that will take our economy and people forward. This visit heralds the next historic chapter of Afghanistan and now Fortescue Future Industries and Minderoo are part of the rich history of our country. We admire their courage, determination and vision to totally integrate their practices, culture and methodologies through upskilling our people and creating an entirely Afghan workforce”.

Background on Minderoo Foundation

Minderoo Foundation is a modern philanthropic organisation that is independent, forward thinking and seeks effective, scalable solutions to overcome hardship and unfairness. It believes in a hand up and not a hand out and an environment which is improved by humanity’s presence. We are proudly Australian, and one of Asia’s largest philanthropies, with over AUD $2 billion invested on a range of global initiatives.

Our philanthropy is supported by Tattarang and its portfolio of businesses and dividends from our investment in Fortescue. This integrated model ensures a level of unparalleled sustainability for our philanthropic activities. Our combined philanthropic and investment teams comprise over 1000 employees across seven international locations.