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Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery, Australia – update

Image of lithium ore on a conveyor

6th October 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery.

Location
Kwinana Industrial Area, Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia (TLEA) joint venture, in which Independence Group (IGO) has a 49% interest.

Project Description
Kwinana is Australia’s first fully automated lithium hydroxide processing plant.

The refinery is designed to process the spodumene concentrate of TLEA’s Greenbushes project into battery-grade lithium hydroxide for global markets.

The refinery comprises two individual production trains that will target the production of up to 48 000 t of lithium hydroxide once ramped up.

Train 1 of the Kwinana refinery has a 24 000 t/y production capacity, and construction of Train 2 will add a further 24 000 t/y in capacity.

Potential Job Creation
More than 900 jobs were created during the construction phase of the plant, which is now being operated by about 200 people.

Capital Expenditure
$700-million.

Planned Start/End Date
First battery-grade lithium hydroxide was produced in May 2022. The first train declared commercial production at the end of November 2022 and will continue to ramp up production in 2023.

Train 2 commissioning is expected to start in early 2025.

Latest Developments
IGO is "comfortable" that it will reach 50% of the Train 1 nameplate capacity at its Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery.

While Train 1 has been built, production has been lower than expected, owing to ongoing technical challenges, which delayed the startup of the plant after a scheduled shutdown in May.

IGO is now working on the front-end engineering design on Train 2 and is hoping to make a final investment decision in early 2024. Construction of Train 2 was initially slated to start in the first half of 2023.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
IGO, tel +61 8 9238 8300 or email contact@igo.com.au.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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