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Fortescue Metals Group has agreed to acquire 100% of UK-based high-performance battery and electrification technologies provider Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) for $223m.

The firm will purchase WAE from EMK Capital and Williams Grand Prix Engineering.

Upon completion of the deal, WAE will be vertically integrated into Fortescue’s resources and green energy business.  

WAE will be managed through Fortescue Metals’ green energy and technology unit, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

Since early last year, Fortescue Metals and WAE have worked together on designing and developing a prototype battery system to power an electric mining haul truck.

The acquisition is expected to advance the decarbonisation of the iron ore miner’s activities.

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Fortescue Metals founder and chairman Andrew Forrest AO said: “FFI and WAE will work together to decarbonise Fortescue – and in turn the global heavy industry and hard to abate sectors – for the good of our planet and the benefit of our shareholders.

“Today’s announcement builds on our commitment to remove fossil fuel-powered machinery from our operations and to replace it with zero carbon emission technology, powered by FFI green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia.”

The two firms are planning to build battery electric solutions for Fortescue’s mobile haul fleet, rail and other heavy mining equipment.

Furthermore, the duo will jointly work to expand WAE’s green technology and engineering business.

Williams Advanced Engineering CEO Craig Wilson said: “High-performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do at WAE and this acquisition and investment will facilitate the company’s further growth to support the delivery of zero-emission products and services across existing sectors – such as automotive, motorsport and off-highway – and new sectors too.”

The deal is due to be completed by the end of March, dependent on approval from the UK foreign investment as well as other customary conditions.

In a separate development, Fortescue Metals reached a memorandum of understanding with Sinosteel to assess the Midwest magnetite project located in Western Australia.

The firms will undertake an assessment of the rail and port development planned at Oakajee.