Fortescue plans construction of second plant in Oxfordshire, UK

WAE Technologies HQ in Wantage, Oxfordshire WAE Technologies HQ in Wantage, Oxfordshire

Australian mining company Fortescue has revealed plans to ‘significantly expand’ its battery and electric powertrain production operations in the UK with the construction of a new facility in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

The new plant will be operated under the WAE brand. This is the former Williams Advanced Engineering group which was purchased by Fortescue in early 2023.

The facility is set to produce a wide range of zero-emissions products for the off-road machine sector, including trucks and trains. Specifically, it will feature automated assembly of battery modules and packs and assembly of power conversion and power systems.

It will form part of a new global business aimed at driving decarbonisation in all industrial fields, while also supporting ‘sovereign capabilities in emerging technology’.

Fortescue has another plant, located in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, which is set to open later this year. WAE company headquarters is in Wantage, also in Oxfordshire.

“With Fortescue’s investment, British engineering will be at the cutting edge of the green energy economy with WAE’s battery systems providing world-leading technology to the entire global industrial sector,” said Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest.

The new plant will have in excess of 13,500 square metres of floorspace. About 120 jobs will be created with the plant opening. The new factory is set to open in 2024.

The decision to open the new site follows entry-into-force of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement. The agreement has a focus on development of next-generation manufacturing capabilities.

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