Mining magnate Andrew Forrest up stake in Fortescue to 35%

Australian mining billionaire and philanthropist Andrew Forrest has acquired an additional 22 million shares in iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group, taking his personal ownership in the company he founded to 35.3%.

Forrest paid US$160.2 million for the shares and now owns over 1.112 billion shares in Fortescue, which last week reported that it had tripled its profit to $2.5 billion in the six months to December.

The mining magnate said his decision was partly driven by Fortescue’s commitment to community and environmental responsibility, amid growing investor and public pressure for miners to lower emissions.

“The company believes carbon neutrality must be achieved as soon as possible and is investing in practical initiatives that reduce or eliminate emissions, like solar and hydrogen energy, that are and will make a real difference to carbon reduction,” said Forrest in a statement on Friday.

Forrest pointed to the Pilbara-based company’s efforts to move away from diesel for power generation. However, Fortescue is yet to set a target for reducing ‘Scope 3’ emissions – those produced when customers burn or process a company’s raw materials.

The world’s major iron ore producers are responsible for some of the largest volumes of end-use emissions globally, even equivalent to those of the very biggest independent oil companies. The global steel industry accounts for about 2.8 billion tonnes of annual emissions.