One of Australia’s richest men, iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest, is urging government leaders to develop “green” steel-making facilities. The billionaire from Perth says he aims to begin work on a pilot plant later this year to capitalize on the country’s vast iron ore reserves and powered by a new form of energy that is emissions-free and has the potential to replace coal: green hydrogen.
Forrest is the founder of Fortescue Metals Group, which is generating considerable sums currently – with output reportedly worth US$940 million in December alone – by selling iron ore to China at prices that now top US$170 a tonne.
Forrest and his wife are philanthropists who have pledged to give away the bulk of their wealth to charity and support a range of worthy causes, such as education, indigenous Australians, the fight against slavery, and now, the fight against climate change.
Tim Buckley, an energy market analyst from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEFA), told the ABC it was estimated that the price of green hydrogen will drop 70% over the coming decade in countries with access to cheap renewable power.
“Where green hydrogen is almost inevitably going to work is where green energy is going to be almost free,” he said. “Places like Rajasthan in India or the Pilbara in Australia.”