The anticipated impact of expected lithium supply growth is forecast to be up to $2tn, according to the report ‘A Lithium Industry in Australia’ released this week.

METS Ignited CEO Ric Gros said if Australia was to process its current portion of the lithium production value to the Lithium Carbonate/Hydroxide Producer Level, as is currently being built in Kwinana, the economic benefits to Australia would rise from $48bn to $13bn in 2025 – a quarter of Australia’s current iron ore exports.

Further, were Australia to develop capability at the next stage and process all of its concentrate, the opportunity value rises to $80.9bn, which is greater than Australia’s current annual iron ore export at $48bn.

The report, ‘A Lithium Industry in Australia’, also predicted that the value chain in 2020 would see other producing countries ahead of Australia in the transition from mining to refinement unless Australia is able to increase collaboration between industry, government and academia.

Mr Gros said the report was a call to action for industry, government and researchers.

“METS Ignited is working with industry, government and academia to develop a Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) to take advantage of opportunity to open up this industry,” he said.

“We recognise Australia has the ability to capitalise on these opportunities, which is why we are co-ordinating an approach to develop a CRC in Energy Materials. This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“The CRC would facilitate industry-research-government collaboration to accelerate commercialisation of innovation in the Energy Materials space, and in doing so, facilitate enormous viability of a fully vertically integrated value chain that enables Australia to expand its proportion of this emerging $2tn industry.

“In partnership with key industry, government and research organisations, METS Ignited will be releasing a prospectus on the CRC Energy Materials in February.

“I encourage any Australia company thinking of expanding or expanding its product portfolio into battery and energy storage to contact METS Ignited General Manager – Innovation Jacqui Coombes to discuss the emerging opportunities.