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Startup aims to transform WA from world’s mine into world’s foundry

19th January 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Perth-headquartered Element Zero, a green materials platform company launched by former Fortescue executives, has raised $10-million in seed funding for its pioneering zero-carbon metal conversion technology.

The funding, led by Playground Global, will be used to grow research and development, engineering and project development teams and scale the development of a pilot iron plant.

Cofounded by former Fortescue Future Industries CFO and chief investment officer Michael Masterman and former Fortescue Metals Group chief scientist Bart Kolodziejczyk, Element Zero has created a low-temperature mineral processing platform that uses renewable energy to convert iron-ore to 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,” said Masterman.

The non-aqueous electrochemical process allows Element Zero to process the full spectrum of iron ores; this includes the core 95% of Australian and Brazilian global trade in iron-ore. Currently, lower grade iron-ore cannot be processed using hydrogen-fed direct iron reduction or other lower carbon processing technologies.

Element Zero said the technology had been tested successfully on iron-ore, nickel, and other future-facing metals. The lower temperature also allows Element Zero to run this process on intermittent renewables like wind, solar and hydropower.

Based adjacent to the largest iron-ore ports in the world, responsible for exporting nearly 55% of the world’s seaborne iron-ore supply, Element Zero plans to develop five-million tonnes a year of iron-ore feed, producing about 2.7-million tonnes of high purity iron.

“Element Zero will help transform Western Australia from the world's mine into the world's foundry, dramatically reducing carbon emissions in the process,” said Playground Global cofounder Peter Barrett, who has joined the Element Zero board.

“Australia is poised to become a leader in resilient and sustainable global prosperity – its natural wealth in minerals and renewable energy, blended with innovation in electrochemistry and new materials, will cement its leadership in the energy transformation. Element Zero is a major catalyst in this shift and the Pilbara region in the north of Western Australia stands as the premier location globally to showcase the company’s potential,” added Barrett.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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