JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Western Australia has given its approval for a $400-million lithium processing plant, which Chinese group Tianqi Lithium Australia is seeking to build in Kwinana.
The plant, which is Western Australia’s first lithium processing facility, will be located in the Western Trade Coast industrial precinct, placing it in close proximity to infrastructure and services.
Construction of the 24 000 is expected to start in October and will be completed towards the end of 2018. The plant will have the capacity to produce 24 000 t/y of lithium hydroxide.
Tianqi Lithium Australia owns 51% of Talison Lithium, which operates the Greenbushes mine near Bunbury. Production at Greenbushes is expected to expand to support the Kwinana facility.
“While Western Australia has been mining and exporting lithium for more than 25 years, this project introduces value-adding secondary processing into the local supply chain,” said State Development Minister Bill Marmion on Tuesday, adding that Western Australia was keen to play a greater role in processing its raw materials.
In 2014/15, Western Australia produced $143-million worth of lithium, tantalum and tin.