Southern Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Gareth McKnight

Chi­nese com­pany Tianqi has in­vested a fur­ther $300 mil­lion into its new Kwinana lithium pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity, which is be­ing her­alded as a boost to the lo­cal econ­omy and a job cre­ator.

Tianqi has al­ready started con­struc­tion on stage one and is due to be com­pleted in mid-2018 at a cost of $400 mil­lion.

As an­tic­i­pated in the Tele­graph last month, the lithium gi­ant’s board unan­i­mously signed off to start stage two.

Australia’s first-ever lithium hy­drox­ide pro­cess­ing plant will process spo­dumene from Tianqi’s Green­bushes mine in the South West for use in lithium ion bat­ter­ies, elec­tric ve­hi­cles and other elec­tron­ics.

Tianqi’s Aus­tralian gen­eral man­ager Phil Thick said the de­ci­sion on stage two was a vote of con­fi­dence in the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions in WA.

“Or­der­ing of com­po­nents and equip­ment for stage two will start in earnest now and the Kwinana pro­cess­ing plant site is ex­pected to re­main a hive of ac­tiv­ity with stage one cre­at­ing 500 lo­cal jobs which will con­tinue un­der stage two,” he said.

“Long-term per­ma­nent jobs at the plant will in­crease from 115 to 170 and we are set to main­tain our 80-85 per cent lo­cal con­tent ma­te­ri­als tar­get.”

Tianqi chair­man Jiang Weip­ing and chief ex­ec­u­tive Vi­vian Wu also vis­ited the site last month.

Stage two is sched­uled to be com­pleted to­wards the end of 2019.

Pre­mier Mark McGowan said Tianqi’s de­ci­sion would cre­ate more jobs lo­cally.

“Com­bin­ing work at the pro­cess­ing plant and the mine, the growth in Tianqi’s op­er­a­tions is ex­pected to cre­ate more than 735 con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tional jobs for work­ers in Perth’s south and WA’s South West,” he said.

Rock­ing­ham Kwinana Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Solin said Tianqi’s pres­ence in the re­gion would have po­ten­tial knock-on ben­e­fits for lo­cal busi­nesses.

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