Albemarle Lithium has awarded a contract to engineering company Civmec to build a lithium hydroxide plant in south-west Western Australia (WA).

The new plant will be in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, 160km south of Perth, near Bunbury.

Initially, the facility will consist of three production trains. Each train will be capable of producing 20,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of lithium hydroxide.

The plant has a potential for further expansion to five trains, which is expected to take the ultimate site production to 100,000tpa by 2025.

Civmec CEO Patrick Tallon said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Albemarle as a significant construction partner for this exciting project.

“This two-year project is ideally suited to our operations, fabricating, modularising and site erecting steelwork for this key Western Australian development.

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“This project reflects the growing confidence in the WA resource industry, highlighting a bright future for the coming years.”

“This project reflects the growing confidence in the WA resource industry, highlighting a bright future for the coming years.”

Under the contract, Civmec will provide structural, mechanical and piping services for the Hydromet and final product, reagents and utilities for trains 1, 2 and 3.

Selected components for the on-site plant erection will be fabricated and pre-assembled at the company’s Henderson facility.

Fabrication works will start with immediate effect. Site works are expected to begin during the middle of this year and will continue until March 2021.

In November last year, Albemarle secured environmental approval from the Western Australia Government for the Kemerton lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant.

The plant will be fed by spodumene ore concentrate from Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine.