Andrew Forrest has separately brushed off inappropriate relationship allegations, a legal stoush with a US billionaire and a shareholder revolt over Fortescue’s executive pay, while keeping silent on expected investment returns from $1.1b of green energy projects it gave the green light to on Tuesday. The Fortescue Metals Group executive chairman used the company’s 2023 annual general meeting on Tuesday to attack oil and gas majors — including Woodside — stating the emissions from its projects will make part of Australia uninhabitable. However, when quizzed if Fortescue was considering investing in coal projects to get its green energy projects off the ground, Mr Forrest said it was “absolutely true”. “If we find big coal establishments that are shutting down which have got infrastructure going in like great big electricity wires and trainlines going out, where we can send green hydrogen out and green electricity in, yeah we won’t be using the coal stacks but the infrastructure footprint,” he said. The AGM was also too long for Mr Forrest’s liking. In a ‘hot-mic’ moment, he was picked up on the webcast reportedly complaining to his colleagues the “Welcome to Country was too long, the speeches were too long, everything was too long.” While the Fortescue AGM was dominated by discussion over the global decarbonisation thematic, several other major issues were bubbling under the surface. Green dream returns not disclosed On Tuesday FMG said it will invest $US750 million ($1.1 billion) into “two green energy projects and a green metals project”. It has budgeted $US550m for a hydrogen hub in the US state of Arizona, $US150m towards a hydrogen project in Queensland and a $US50m “green iron” commercial plant trial at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek iron ore operations in the Pilbara. In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange announcing the investment green light, Fortescue Energy chief executive Mark Hutchinson said each of the projects would deliver double-digit investment returns. “With a disciplined approach to capital allocation, we continue to target double-digit project returns,” he said. Mr Hutchinson refused to provide specific detail over the targeted returns for each of the recently approved projects when questioned following the conclusion of the AGM. ““They will have double digit returns,” he said. “Now we’ve got through the final investment decision we’re in commercial discussions with some offtakers.” When pushed on when Fortescue expects to release the expected returns for each project, Mr Hutchinson said the company was “working on it.” “We have some opportunities next year to do that so we’ll do that.” Mr Forrest chimed in, stating shareholders and observers should “be patient with us as we grow”. “Excellent value for money” after pay strike Mr Forrest was also defiant after Fortescue got stung with a first strike against proposed pay packets for its leadership team, as shareholders handed down a 52.37 per cent rejection of the remuneration report. Fortescue non-executive director and head of the remuneration committee Penny Bingham-Hall said she had received “strong shareholder feedback” about one-off discretionary payments to the board and executives. This included a $1.98 million “one-off special recognition” payment to former Fortescue chief executive Elizabeth Gaines, who has served as non-executive director of the miner since September 2022, after stepping down from the top job. Mr Forrest defended the payment made to Ms Gaines., stating Fortescue had received “excellent value for money”, despite the shareholder disapproval. “Elizabeth, yes she was chief executive and she was going to sail off into the sunset like every other chief executive does, but she’s also been voted number 2 in the world by Forbes as the most effective chief executive globally,” he said. “I need that talent back into the fold.” Billionaire legal stoush a ‘non event’ The colourful Fortescue chairman also waved away an alleged dispute with American businessman Paul Tudor Jones over proposed hydrogen projects. According to a report in the Australian Financial Review, a lawsuit was filed in Connecticut that divulges claims by a company linked to Mr Tudor Jones, a US billionaire and hedge fund manager. Addressing the claims at Fortescue’s AGM Mr Forrest told reporters it was a ‘total non-event’. “It’s a total non-event…someone low down in his chain somewhere has made an accusation against someone who doesn’t even work for us anymore.” “I mean I can give so much more good salacious stories than that boring old thing.” Those claims reportedly reveal Fortescue and Mr Tudor Jones’ company had been planning to buy fossil fuel projects in the US and turn them into clean hydrogen projects. However, the deals seemingly never came to fruition amid disagreements over costs. Inappropriate relationship claim Earlier this year, Fortescue ordered a secret probe following an “anonymous letter concerning the behaviour of the executive chairman”. “The investigation concluded that none of the matters in the letter were substantiated. There were no adverse findings,” Fortescue previously said in a statement. When quizzed by media over the alleged inappropriate relationship, Mr Forrest said there was nothing to report. “I’ve got nothing to report, it was an anonymous claim so the board has to deal with it.” “I’m surprised you’re wasting everyone’s time talking about it, you’re just being such a turkey,” Mr Forrest told the reporter who raised the question.