US company Albemarle has started construction work on the A$1bn ($709.4m) lithium hydroxide processing plant in Kemerton, Western Australia.
Once operational, the Albemarle Kemerton Plant will produce up to 100,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of premium battery grade lithium hydroxide and is expected to create 500 construction jobs and another 500 jobs in the south-west.
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said: “In February 2018, I met with representatives from Albemarle in Washington DC to discuss the possibility of launching a lithium project of this magnitude in WA. I congratulate Albemarle on making this vision become a reality.
“My government’s number one priority is creating local jobs for local workers, so we have been working with Albemarle to make sure there are opportunities for local South-West workers from Collie, Bunbury and Murray-Wellington.”
In January this year, Albemarle started site works for the lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area.
Albemarle awarded a contract last month to engineering company Civmec to construct the lithium hydroxide plant.
The plant will be constructed on an 89ha site and has the approval to process spodumene ore concentrate from the Talison Lithium Greenbushes mine, through five process trains.
McGowan further added: “With up to 1,000 local jobs being created, this project will be a huge economic boost for the South-West region and will show the capability Western Australia has in the lithium-ion battery sector.”
The plant has a potential for further expansion to five trains, growth that will see total production reach 100,000tpa by 2025.