Harry Leahey

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Fortescue Metals, an Australian mining company and owner of WAE Technologies, has set out plans to construct a power cell factory in Oxfordshire that is said to create 300 jobs. 

With a capacity of 400MWh per year, the factory, which will be operated by WAE Technologies, will primarily focus on building power cells for heavy-duty vehicles such as mining trucks, and is set to begin operations as early as April.

It comes following this week’s news of battery manufacturer start-up Britishvolt falling into administration, after it failed to gain enough financial support to cement its future as a major contributor to EV battery production, which would have involved a new factory being built in Northumberland. 

Fortescue Metals plans to use WAE's expertise in electrification to achieve carbon-neutrality in their mining operations by 2030, and also plans to develop batteries for electric trains and other heavy machinery. Hydrogen fuel cell technology also forms part of the firm’s future plans. 

Speaking to Sky News at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, owner of Fortescue Metals Mr Forrest told the broadcaster: “We invested heavily in British technology, British knowhow and British work ethic last year.

“But then we’ve said: ‘Listen, it’s great you’ve got the most advanced, innovative prototype batteries in the world… but we’ve got to get into manufacturing’.

“So last year, we started building a large factory in Kidlington. We’ll open it in April.

“It will [create] hundreds and hundreds of new British jobs.

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Harry Leahey 20/01/23