Lithium plant expansion a positive ‘signal’ for industry
A $317 million dollar expansion of Tianqi Lithium’s proposed processing plant in Kwinana has been welcomed by local industry after the Chinese company gave the nod for a $21 million feasibility study and pre-investment last Tuesday.
The proposed expansion, which would double the Kwinana plant’s capacity to 48,000 tonnes per annum, coincided with a 1.34 million tonnes per annum expansion of Tianqi’s 51 per cent-owned Talison mine at Greenbushes, which is set to provide feedstock for the expanded Kwinana plant as well as the company’s two other plants in China.
Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton said it was great news that Tianqi was looking to press ahead with its second stage, well ahead of when it was originally planned to start.
“Aside from the fabrication and construction benefits that will flow to that sector locally, the main benefit I see is the signal it sends to the lithium sector and more broadly to the industrial sector,” Mr Oughton said.
“That message is that the (Kwinana) industrial area is a good place for industrial businesses to set up.” The feasibility study for the expansion is expected to be finished in October, with the final investment decision to follow.
Mr Oughton said while the expansion of the plant on its own wouldn’t hugely boost the Kwinana economy, the company’s contribution to incremental growth in the industrial area was significant.
“Growth of the industrial area in itself generates further interest, and that can translate into momentum,” Mr Oughton said.
“We’re seeing quite a bit of interest from potential incoming industries at the moment . . . I expect that as news of the Government’s outer harbour intentions spread, there will be a flurry of activity by industrial companies wanting to get land near the new port.
“When that happens we’ll really see momentum happening.”
Tianqi Lithium processing plant in Kwinana.