PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian government has approved US-based Albemarle’s plans to construct a lithium manufacturing plant in the state.
The plant will produce up to 100 000 t/y of lithium hydroxide monohydrate from five 20 000 t/y process trains and produce up to 1.1-million tonnes a year of tailings, and is expected to create more than 500 construction jobs and up to 500 permanent jobs.
“My government's number-one priority is diversifying the economy and creating jobs for Western Australia, so significant milestones like these support our efforts in improving the Western Australian economy and boosting job opportunities,” said Premier Mark McGowan.
“The Albemarle lithium plant is another step closer to setting up its operations which will generate hundreds of local jobs.”
The construction of these trains will be staged over the next ten years with construction of the first trains planned to start in 2018. The plant will process spodumene ore concentrate supplied from the Talison mine in Greenbushes, the biggest source of spodumene ore concentrate in the southern hemisphere.
Once constructed, the Albemarle Kemerton plant will be the second, and largest, lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant to invest in Western Australia in two years.
“The state is a world-leading producer of lithium and Western Australia has an abundant supply of lithium and other battery minerals, which is why it's vital we maximise the opportunities this industry provides, both upstream and downstream, to Western Australians,” said McGowan.
Earlier this year, the state government established a lithium and energy materials industry taskforce to capitalise on the state's unique resources and growth in the lithium-ion battery sector.
The taskforce is working across government and closely with industry and research organisations to develop a Lithium and Energy Materials Strategy that unlocks the state's potential in the sector, delivers local jobs and economic diversification and benefits regional communities.