Chinese company Tianqi Lithium has announced a $400 million plan to build a processing plant in Kwinana, south of Perth, to expand its production of lithium batteries used in energy storage and electric vehicles.
The WA Government says the decision by Tianqi Lithium Australia will create up to 500 jobs during a two-year construction period, and 115 jobs once the project is operational.
“Demand for lithium is increasing rapidly thanks to its growing use for renewable energy storage and electric car batteries,” WA minister for state development, finance and innovation Bill Marmion said.
“While Western Australia has been mining and exporting lithium for more than 25 years, this project introduces value-adding secondary processing into the local supply chain.
“This is very positive news for growing the State’s economy as we seek to take a greater role in processing our raw materials to produce higher value products.”
Lands minister Terry Redman said Tianqi had secured an option to lease 20 hectares of land from LandCorp, within the state-owned industrial precinct, the Western Trade Coast.
“The Western Trade Coast is already home to a highly diverse range of operations and industries, including defence, oil and gas, and manufacturing,” Redman said.
“By locating within this precinct, Tianqi Lithium Australia will be in close proximity to all the necessary infrastructure and services in order for their project to succeed.
“I was pleased to learn of the project’s approval by the Metropolitan South-West Joint Development Assessment Panel last week.”
Construction of the plant is expected to start next month and be completed towards the end of 2018, with a capacity of 24,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year.