Lithium plant gets approval
Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke has welcomed the potential for 1000 new jobs in the South West after plans for a massive processing plant in Kemerton was given environmental approval.
Albemarle Corporation will need 500 workers when it builds the $1 billion lithium plant in the Kemerton industrial area. A further 500 jobs will be created when the plant starts producing the 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide its five processing trains are being designed to handle each year.
Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke said most of the jobs would be sourced locally.
“I would encourage locals to keep an eye on media ... Albemarle will be doing jobs road shows for recruiting,” Ms Clarke said.
Bunbury MLA Don Punch said the approvals opened the door for the Greater Bunbury Region to be placed on the world stage in terms of resource processing and energy storage possibilities.
“Albemarle has indicated its intention to build the world’s biggest lithium processing plant in Kemerton and, while there are still pieces of the jigsaw to fall in place for the project to proceed, it stands to be a transformational project for our region,” Mr Punch said.
Harvey shire president Tania Jackson said the project still needed approval from the Joint Development Assessment Panel which will meet tomorrow.
Lithium hydroxide is a critical ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries which power, among other things, electric vehicles.
It is made from spodumene ore concentrate, which Albemarle mines at the sprawling Greenbushes mine.
Clearing the last environmental hurdle is a win for the State Government, which has established a lithium and energy materials industry taskforce to capitalise on WA’s position as the source of more than half the world’s lithium.
“The Albemarle lithium plant is another step closer to setting up its operations, which will generate hundreds of local jobs,” Premier Mark McGo- wan said. “I’m pleased to see this project progressing, following my positive discussions with Albemarle’s directors during my visit to Washington this year.”
Mining lobby group AMEC has predicted the global trade in lithium batteries will soar from $165 billion to $2 trillion over the next eight years.
WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the Environment Protection Authority attached conditions to its approval.
Albemarle, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is waiting on a handful of Federal approvals before it can make a final investment decision, which observers say is a formality because the plant is considered a top priority.
Albemarle’s joint venture partner at Greenbushes, China’s Tianqi Lithium, is building a $700 million processing plant at Kwinana.
Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke and Bunbury MLA Don Punch at the entrance of Kemerton Strategic Industrial Park after a proposed lithium manufacturing plant was given the environmental green light.