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Employer rolls out first Qld automated production line

A major mining company introduced new autonomous technology to a Central Queensland operation.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) recently launched a new automatic assembly line at its electrolyser manufacturing facility in Gladstone.

The project involved establishing one of the world’s first production lines that autonomously splits oxygen and hydrogen. This so-called green hydrogen is promised to help decarbonise operations.

The entire 15,000sqm advanced manufacturing facility has an annual capacity of over 2 gigawatts of proton exchange membrane electrolyser stacks. It is also touted to make FMG an original equipment manufacturer.

The State Government supported the project through providing an electrical sub-station, road network, communications, local scheme water connection and land allocation. The Federal Government contributed $44 million from the Modern Manufacturing Initiative’s collaboration stream.

More than 100 jobs were created throughout the two-year construction phase plus a further 93 ongoing operational jobs and 193 indirect roles.

“This facility, delivered and commissioned in less than two years and with one of the only automated production lines of its kind, is a demonstration of what is possible when governments and business work together in the interests of our economy and our environment,” FMG energy CEO Mark Hutchinson said in a public statement.

“We are grateful for the Queensland and Federal Government’s vision and early support to help get us started. Together we have laid the cornerstone for … creating the potential for thousands of new green energy jobs,” FMG founding executive chair Andrew Forrest added.

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