Goldfields ripe for battery projects
Next week I will be joining industry and community members at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s What’s Down the Track Forum to consider the future for the region.
With the resource sector well into a strong recovery, this is an exciting time to be discussing the opportunities for the Goldfields. Kalgoorlie has a long and successful history of mining, and is home to one of the richest square miles of gold on Earth.
It has been a substantial producer of most minerals for most of its history, but there is still more we can do.
While gold has tended to dominate discussion for the region, lately it has become more evident that there is increasing potential for lithium and other battery minerals to contribute to the Goldfield story. Currently, Western Australia produces most of the world’s lithium by value, dominating one end of the value chain.
All the other the minerals that are needed to manufacture batteries can also be found here in a varying level of development.
The opportunity to invest in the battery minerals sector is tremendous, and there are already a number of projects exploring, developing and mining battery minerals. Underpinning these projects is the predicted growth and demand for batteries in the coming decade.
An independent report prepared for AMEC identified that the currently $165 billion global lithium value chain will grow to a conservatively estimated $2 trillion by 2025.
To fuel this growing demand more battery minerals projects will need to be developed, and where better to expand than Kalgoorlie?
However, the opportunities don’t come without a few hurdles along the way.
There is a real issue with skilled worker shortages, Federal and State government processing times and legislative uncertainty.
Kalgoorlie has experienced considerable financial and economic pressures, fluctuating commodity prices, and a low level of private investment. Though over the last year these winds have shifted and are now blowing in our favour, the region must focus on maximising resource potential to create new revenue streams, local job opportunities, and regional development.
The future looks bright for the Goldfields, but we must work together to realise the opportunity.
Experienced operator Duncan Gibbs recently left Sunrise Dam.