Fortescue commits to major manufacturing facility in US

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Australia-based Fortescue has confirmed it will establish an Advanced Manufacturing Centre in Detroit after the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) agreed to provide grants and tax breaks valued at more than $45 million (USD 29.7 million).

Fortescue has announced it will invest an initial $53 million to refurbish an existing 38,000-square-metre facility in Detroit, turning it into a manufacturing and engineering workspace. The first battery line is expected to be installed in 2025, with the new facility scheduled to be operating at full capacity by 2030.

Fortescue said the plant will become a hub for the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and heavy industry, fast chargers, and electrolysers.

“The production in the facility will initially be focused on customers across North America, with high potential for international sales based on expected economic and technical competitiveness, along with international customer requirements,” the company said.

Fortescue Energy Chief Executive Officer Mark Hutchinson said the project will “breathe fresh life into the birthplace of the automotive industry.”

“We are committed to investing in the next generation of green manufacturing projects that will help decarbonise business and heavy industry, and in turn create a strong future for manufacturing jobs in the United States,” he said.

The project has attracted strong support from both Michigan and the city of Detroit with the state approving an almost $13.7 million performance-based grant, a 15-year, 100% essential services assessment exemption valued at almost $2 million, and state tax capture valued at more than $3.6 million. In addition, the project is requesting $7.9 million in tax financing.

The city of Detroit also will support the project through a tax break worth about $11.7 million and more than $6.4 million for the local portion of the redevelopment work.

Fortescue expects the new facility to generate 600 new manufacturing and engineering jobs.

The Detroit facility is part of Fortescue’s broader strategy for the north American market. The company late last year reached a final investment decision on a green hydrogen project in Arizona. Stage one of the Phoenix Hydrogen Hub is planned to include an 80 MW electrolyser and liquefaction facility capable of producing up to 12,000 tonnes of liquified green hydrogen annually.

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