A grey-haired Andrew Forrest in a bright yellow work shirt speaks with a mine site behind him.

Andrew Forrest’s FMG lodges mining applications in WA’s south

Mining tycoon Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has lodged applications to explore vast tracts of WA’s south coast for critical minerals.

The WA billionaire owns FMG, which has lodged almost two dozen applications through the mining regulatory body this month.

The 21 applications are for tenements in an area stretching from Gnowangerup to Ravensthorpe and Lake King.

FMG is a West Australian mining company that focuses on the exploration, development, production and processing of iron ore, with most of its assets located in the state’s Pilbara region.

FMG remained tight-lipped when questioned by the ABC about which minerals it was looking for in the Great Southern, but it has been ramping up its search for lithium.

Lithium is in high demand because it is used in batteries for technology and electric vehicles.

Dr Forrest’s FMG has applied for mining exploration licenses in large parts of the Great Southern.(Supplied)

The commodity is valuable because of its high charge and low atomic mass.

Other minerals in Ravensthorpe include nickel and cobalt.

Battery minerals in high demand

MineLife senior resource analyst Gavin Wendt said FMG would be looking for battery materials and other metals that could go into renewable energy.

“Fortescue is increasingly positioning itself as a renewable energy company, and it’s looking towards these future-facing commodities as the world moves towards renewable energy,” he said.

A country road in Ravensthorpe, WA.
Ravensthorpe is home to nickel and lithium mines. (ABC Great Southern)

“There’s a real growth opportunity out there for resource companies.

“We’re starting to see the world’s major miners … realize that they need to get their hands on these strategic materials because of the increase in demand that’s going to come through over the ensuing decades.”