Fortescue taps Williams Advanced Engineering to decarbonise operations

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The logo of Australia's Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) can be seen on a bulk carrier as it is loaded with iron ore at the coastal town of Port Hedland in Western Australia, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Melanie Burton

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  • Fortescue aims to cut diesel use in operations
  • Miner, WAE working on battery electric haul truck, electric train project

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.AX) said on Monday it will buy an engineering and battery company, founded by Williams Formula 1 team, for 164 million pounds ($222.2 million) in the Australian miner's push to decarbonise its fleet and equipment.

The iron ore miner said it had been working with Williams Advanced Engineering Ltd (WAE) since early 2021 to build a prototype battery to power an electric haul truck, and will release more details this year on plans to develop an electric train project.

It follows an aggressive push by Fortescue's billionaire-founder Andrew Forrest to turn his mining firm into one of the world's biggest green energy companies.

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Fortescue, the world's fourth-largest iron ore miner, aims to work with WAE to develop battery electric solutions to cut the use of diesel in its rail, mobile haul fleet and heavy mining equipment to decarbonise operations by 2030.

Rivals BHP Group (BHP.AX) and Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) have also made strides in recent weeks to bring down emissions by buying battery-powered electric trains to transport iron ore.

Fortescue said WAE will be managed by Fortescue Future Industries, the Perth-based company's clean energy unit, after the purchase from private-equity firm EMK Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering Ltd is complete.

The transaction, which will be funded by existing liquidity, is expected to be completed by the end of March.

($1 = 0.7382 pounds)

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Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan; Editing by Chris Reese and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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