Construction begins on $400m lithium processing facility in Kwinana

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Construction has begun on a new lithium processing plant in Kwinana with a processing capacity of 24,000 tonnes per year of lithium hydroxide.

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The plant, a $400 million investment from China’s Tianqi Lithium, will source ore from the Greenbushes mine in southwestern Australia – jointly owned by Tianqi and Albemarle Corp – and will increase the company’s processing capacity by as much as 50%.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said the project was “a major development for Western Australia”, that will boost the local economy and create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase.

“More than 115 employees will be needed once the project becomes operational toward the end of 2018,” Mr Barnett added.

“The project will also generate benefits for the South-West of the State, with production likely to double at the Greenbushes mine, near Bunbury, to supply the Kwinana plant.”

State Development Minister Bill Marmion said the Liberal National Government has helped secure the investment for WA by working alongside Tianqi’s Australian subsidiary, Talison Lithium, which operates the Greenbushes mine.

“A concerted effort was made to ensure a suitable site and cross-government approvals were secured, in order for a timely investment decision to be made,” Mr Marmion said.

“This is an important manufacturing project which adds value to natural resources development in Western Australia and increases our capacity to produce higher value products.”

Lands Minister Terry Redman said the Chinese company had recently finalised a lease with LandCorp for up to 49 years, over a 20-hectare site within the Western Trade Coast.

“The proximity to vital infrastructure and support services and the port and skilled labour provided by the Western Trade Coast, were significant factors in the State’s success in attracting this project,” Mr Redman said.