Former Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner has gone to work for Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, as the billionaire makes a play for control of the $35 billion Sun Cable solar project.
Gunner has been appointed head of Fortescue Future Industries’ Australia West operations.
The appointment comes at a crucial time for Forrest who is locked in a battle with fellow billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Grok Ventures for control of Sun Cable.
Sun Cable plans to export solar power from Australia to Singapore via a 4200km underwater cable.
The company went into voluntary administration in January.
Analysts have raised doubts about the cost and viability of the cable, which would be more than five times longer than the longest submarine link currently proposed; the 767km Viking link from the UK to Denmark.
Forrest has insisted that “the Top End has world-class solar resources and will play an important part in FFI’s mission to lead the world in stepping beyond fossil fuels”.
“Too many companies try to develop North Australian projects from an office in Sydney. We are prioritising the Territory by putting boots on the ground in Australia’s Top End,” he said.