Albemarle Corporation has commenced earthworks for its new lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, which is located approximately 17 kilometres north-east of Bunbury.
The Albemarle Kemerton Plant will process spodumene ore concentrate from the Talison Lithium Greenbushes mine, which is the largest source of spodumene ore concentrate in the southern hemisphere (Environmental Protection Authority 2018), through five process trains.
The plant is expected to produce up to 100,000 tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide and has the potential to expand to 100,000 metric tonnes.
Further to this, the plant is expected to generate over 500 construction jobs and an initial 100 operational jobs, increasing to 500 at full operational capacity.
Western Australia’s Acting Premier Roger Cook said the commencement of construction by Albemarle demonstrates the benefits presented to the South-West and the State by the Government’s investment in Kemerton.
“This initiative paves the way for additional downstream processing industries to be established in Kemerton in the future, which will mean more jobs for regional Western Australia,” Mr Cook said.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, also commented that the proposed lithium processing plant would be a major win for Western Australia and the nation’s lithium industry.
“We know there is growing demand for lithium around the world and also locally, particularly in areas such as energy storage and this presents huge future opportunities for Australia’s lithium industry,” he said.
“We’re the world’s largest lithium producer and there is significant potential to grow investment in infrastructure at various stages within the value chain such as lithium processing.”
“This is a welcome investment and vote of confidence in our local lithium industry that will help attract further investment into the future,” Mr Birmingham stated.
Commissioning of the Kemerton Plant is anticipated in 2021.