Aerial view of Esperance, Western Australia

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) has held its first meeting with the Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (ETNTAC), after the two agreed earlier this year to explore the possibility for a green hydrogen hub in South East Western Australia.

ETNTAC represents the Kepa Kurl Wudjari People, the native title holders of the Esperance region where FFI proposes to undertake feasibility studies for its South East Western Australia Green Hydrogen Hub.

The studies will help to refine the project’s footprint and land tenure requirements should FFI decide to progress with it.

The meeting marked a significant step in FFI’s bid to lead the green hydrogen and green energy revolution across Western Australia and recognised the integral role ETNTAC has in developing the project.

FFI Director, Maia Schweizer, said the discussion marked the start of what she hoped would be a lasting and mutually beneficial collaboration between FFI and ETNTAC.

“The missions of FFI and the Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation are closely aligned,” Ms Schweizer said.

“FFI’s mission is to help stop global warming by providing a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. We are excited and humbled to work with ENTNAC to care for Country in the broadest sense, and to create opportunities for the Kepa Kurl Wudjari People.

“FFI’s plans have the potential to create significant economic opportunities for traditional owners and generate jobs in construction and ongoing operations, which may bring benefits to the Kepa Kurl Wudjari People, the Goldfields-Esperance region and to WA.

“The project will only progress with the support of the Kepa Kurl Wudjari People.

“They also offer important traditional knowledge and management practices in caring for the land and sea.

“We look forward to working with ETNTAC on our vision to create a better environment for this and future generations, both locally and globally.”

ETNTAC Chairperson, Gail Reynolds-Adamson, affirmed the comments of Ms Schweizer and welcomed FFI’s commitment to the substantial economic participation of ETNTAC in the project and the principles of free, prior and informed consent.

“ETNTAC and Kepa Kurl Wudjari People are excited at the opportunity that this project presents for traditional owners to leverage their native title land assets and support ethical and sustainable development on Kepa Kurl Wudjari country,” Ms Reynolds-Adamson said.

“There is no question in my mind that Green Hydrogen will be a globally critical industry of the future and by engaging with FFI early, ETNTAC can take steps to ensure Kepa Kurl Wudjari People are well positioned to benefit economically through employment and business opportunities, but also to ensure any development footprint is designed in a way that is sympathetic to the environmental, cultural and social values of traditional owners.”

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