The State Government has today given environmental approval for a lithium manufacturing plant in the South West, paving the way for more than 500 construction jobs and up to 500 permanent jobs.
The Albemarle lithium plant will be located in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, 17 kilometres north east of Bunbury.
Premier Mark McGowan said the government’s number one priority was diversifying the economy and creating jobs in WA.
“Significant milestones like these support our efforts in improving the WA economy and boosting job opportunities,” he said.
“The Abermarle lithium plant is another step closer to setting up its operations which will generate hundreds of local jobs.
“I’m pleased to see this project progressing, following my positive discussions with Albemarle’s directors during my visit to Washington earlier this year.
“The State is a world-leading producer of lithium and WA has an abundant supply of lithium and other battery minerals which is why it’s vital we maximise the opportunities this industry provides, both upstream and downstream, to Western Australians.”
When in operation, the Albemarle Kemerton Plant will process spodumene ore concentrate, through five process trains, to produce up to 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide product.
Spodumene ore will be sourced from the Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine, which in March 2018 announced an expansion to supply the rapidly expanding global lithium market.
The Albemarle Kemerton Plant will create more than 500 construction jobs with an initial 100 operational jobs, increasing to up to 500 at full operational capacity.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said Albemarle was an example of achieving a balance between an acceptable environmental outcome and a prospering economy.
“The Albemarle lithium plant has undergone a thorough environmental assessment process by the Environment Protection Authority, which recommended the project could proceed subject to strict environmental conditions,” he said.
Once constructed, the Albemarle Kemerton Plant will be the second, and largest, lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant to invest in Western Australia in two years.
Earlier this year, the McGowan Government established a Lithium and Energy Materials Industry Taskforce to capitalise on WA’s unique resources and growth in the lithium-ion battery sector.
The taskforce is working across government and closely with industry and research organisations to develop a Lithium and Energy Materials Strategy that unlocks the State’s potential in the sector and delivers local jobs, economic diversification and benefits regional communities.