Why magnetite matters more to Fortescue in the green iron era – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – May 7, 2023)


Andrew Forrest gave a big green tick to Fortescue producing a high-grade magnetite at Iron Bridge.

Andrew Forrest says there’s a graveyard somewhere full of failed magnetite projects, but his will be different. Fortescue Metals Group’s Iron Bridge magnetite mine reached a first production milestone last week after surviving its own near-death experience in early 2021. The Fortescue founder and chairman breathed a great sigh of relief on May 1 when Iron Bridge started churning out magnetite with an iron content greater than 68 per cent.

It has taken other projects years to achieve target grades and some have never got there. The breakthrough for Fortescue comes at a time when high-grade product from the iron ore industry is seen as the quickest path to greener iron and therefore greener steel. And in a green iron world, magnetite projects make more sense than they did in the past.

However, the carbon emission paradox for magnetite projects is that they require energy-intensive processing of very low-grade material, and until renewable generation becomes an alternative, they rely on fossil fuels.

Iron Bridge will be reliant on power from a 220-kilometre transmission line built to connect it to the gas-fired plant at Fortescue’s Solomon mining hub while the company works away at plans to decarbonise all of its mining operations by 2030.

For the rest of this article: https://www.afr.com/companies/mining/why-magnetite-matters-more-to-fortescue-in-the-green-iron-era-20230506-p5d6ah