QMEB ยป Forrest transitions coal mine to ‘green’ alternative
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Forrest transitions coal mine to ‘green’ alternative

Centralia coal mine (Erichwtl/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Centralia coal mine (Erichwtl/CC BY-SA 3.0)

A resources mogul began converting a fossil fuel operation into a major renewable project.

Andrew Forrest recently confirmed ambitious plans to transition a controversial coal mine into a green hydrogen development.

Fortescue Future Industries’ (FFI’s) founding chairman recently began repurposing TransAlta Corporation’s Centralia Coal Mine, 145km south of Seattle.

His feasibility study will examine different ways the former mine can turned into a new Pacific Northwest green hydrogen production facility.

FFI has already entered into a binding exclusivity agreement with the Industrial Park at TransAlta. The project is touted to decarbonise “hard-to-abate” sectors, develop a green hydrogen hub, and create hundreds of local jobs in the process. The proponent promises to retain Centralia Coal Power Plant’s existing workforce when the operation closes during 2025.

“Repurposing existing fossil fuel infrastructure to create green hydrogen to power the world is part of the solution to saving the planet,” Forrest said in a public statement.

“Signing of this agreement is another important step in turning the corner once and for all, to implement the technologies carbon emitters need to reach net zero.”

The operation has been ablaze since public servants lit a fire near the old mine entrance on 27 May 1962. Flames spread to an underground coal seam, reaching depths of up to 90 metres and spanning more than 13km.

The disaster forced almost the entire population to evacuate and abandon the city. The fire still cannot be extinguished and is predicted to keep burning for more than 250 years.

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