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Image: Fortescue Metals Group.

Fortescue Metals Group has continued to work towards its 2040 net zero emissions target according to the company’s 2020 climate change report.

The mining giant acknowledged interest in climate action from its stakeholders, as the company maps out its plans for both the risks and opportunities that involve climate change.

Fortescue’s climate change strategy revolves around building resilience, reducing emissions, engagement and collaboration, and maximising opportunities.

To reach net zero emissions by 2040, Fortescue aims to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions from its existing operations by 26 per cent in 2030 compared to the levels shown in 2020.

In the 2020 financial year, Fortescue and its business partners provided a US$800 million ($1.1 billion) investment to drive 25 to 30 per cent of its stationary energy requirements from solar power.

“The business sector is in a privileged position to take the lead in tackling the challenges associated with climate change. Mining is one of the most innovative industries in the world and we are harnessing this advantage to work towards carbon neutrality, with a sense of urgency,” Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said.

“Our bold target to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040 is underpinned by our proud history of setting stretch targets and is strengthened by the introduction of practical initiatives that will help us deliver on our targets in an economically sustainable manner.

“The Pilbara region of Western Australia, where our operations are based, produces more sunshine hours in a day than anywhere else in Australia, providing a unique opportunity to use alternative energy sources to supply power to our mine sites,” she added.

Fortescue has also introduced a decarbonisation committee to reduce emissions in areas such as its mining fleet, which burn 400 to 450 million litres of diesel per year.

“Decarbonising the mining fleet is one of the biggest challenges facing our industry. While electric light vehicles are readily available for the passenger and domestic market, there are currently no economic or technologically viable, large-scale vehicles available for the mining industry,” Fortescue said.

To advance the innovation in this space, Fortescue  recently partnered with ATCO Australia to build and operate the first hydrogen refuelling station in Western Australia, as the company works toward its goal of being diesel free by 2030.

In addition, green hydrogen production, storage and use is a key focus and we have a portfolio of projects underway to ensure Fortescue is well positioned to advance emerging technologies to meet the inevitable demand for this important commodity as both an export opportunity and to further reduce our own emissions,” Gaines said.

“We are proud to be taking a leadership position in addressing the global climate change challenge. On behalf of our Climate Change Committee, I’d like to thank the Fortescue family, who with the support of our contracting partners and suppliers, are passionate about making a difference and contributing to positive change for our future.