The facility will produce up to 100,000 tonnes of premium battery grade lithium each year. © C. Gottgens/Bloomberg/Getty Images
The facility will produce up to 100,000 tonnes of premium battery grade lithium each year. © C. Gottgens/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Construction underway on the world’s largest lithium refinery

1 April 2019

The world's largest lithium plant is under construction in Western Australia (WA) and is expected to create 1,000 jobs.

The lithium hydroxide plant, in Kemerton, WA is part of $1bn investment by US chemical company Albemarle.

The facility will produce up to 100,000 tonnes of premium battery grade lithium each year and will become Australia’s largest lithium hydroxide plant.  

It will create 500 construction jobs, with a further 500 job opportunities for local communities in the South West region once operational.

Premier Mark McGowan said: "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.

"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 WA has in the lithium-ion battery sector."

WA is currently the largest global producer of lithium, and a major contributor to the global supply of rare earths, cobalt and nickel.

In January 2019, the WA state government launched its Future Battery Industry Strategy which aims to grow the state into a world-leading exporter of future battery materials, minerals, technologies and expertise.

The strategy aims to unlock WA’s potential in a growing sector and ensure it becomes a central player in the global battery value chain as demand for electric vehicles and energy storage systems increases.

Mines and petroleum minister for WA Bill Johnston said: "The growing global demand for battery technologies presents an opportunity for WA to build on its expertise in the resources industry and move further along the value chain into downstream processing activities.

"WA has all the battery minerals you need to make batteries and energy technologies, we also have a stable and robust economy with low sovereign-risk, and we're world-leaders in research and development.”

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