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Former Fortescue execs launch green iron start-up

Two former executives that worked at Fortescue’s clean energy initiatives, Michael Masterman and Bart Kolodziejczyk, have launched a start-up that aims to cut carbon emissions of the Australian iron ore sector without using the hydrogen and membrane technology backed by their former employer.

After raising $10 million this week in seed funding, led by venture capital firm Playground Global, the partners said they are ready to fund green materials-related research and development led by their firm Element Zero. 

Through the firm’s patented electro-reduction method, the start-up is already turning iron ore into “green iron” at laboratory scale. Using an alkaline solution and electric current, the method can separate pure iron from waste products present in the ore.

According to its founders, Element Zero’s patented process works well for the hematite ores that dominate the Australian iron ore industry and it can also be used with other metals, such as nickel.

Strategic location

Based in Perth and the north of Western Australia, the company is close to the world’s largest iron ore ports, from which about 55% of the world’s seaborne iron ore supply is exported. 

Element Zero plans to generate 5 million tonnes per year of iron ore feed, producing around 2.7 million tonnes of high purity iron.

“Our processing platform will, for the first time, allow cost-effective and scalable production of carbon-free metals crucial to the iron and steel and critical metals industries,”  founder and CEO, Michael Masterman, said in the statement.

“Support from Playground Global goes way beyond financial investment, and we are already in deep discussions about developing green iron and green silicon value chains in the US. We are also working with major iron ore miners and iron and steel companies globally,” Masterman noted.

Element Zero’s modular approach aims to address 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions from iron and steelmaking.

The company is commissioning a green iron pilot plant in the Perth suburb of Malaga, where 100 kg of iron ore will be fed into the process each day.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More