FBICRC launches cathode precursor production pilot plant in Perth


The WA Government has welcomed the launch of the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre’s (FBICRC) Cathode Precursor Production pilot plant, which was backed by 19 industry, research, and Government participants.

The Australian-first pilot plant, which is located at Curtin University in Bentley, will help design and build cathode precursor manufacturing facilities on a commercial and industrial scale.

Cathode precursors are a crucial element of the battery value chain. They include cobalt, graphite nickel, lithium, and manganese. All the components required for contemporary batteries are produced in Western Australia, alongside with graphite, aluminum, and copper.

According to the FBICRC’s research, “Future Charge: Building Australia’s Battery Industries,” an active materials manufacturing program could generate $1 billion for the economy and 4,800 jobs by 2030.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said the WA Government has committed $6 million towards establishing the FBICRC via the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia and Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

He said the Government has also committed $13.2 million to facilitate global investment in precursor cathode manufacturing in WA.

“Launching the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre’s precursor production pilot plant is an exciting step forward for Western Australia’s burgeoning battery materials manufacturing industry,” he said in a statement.

“The McGowan Government is committed to growing and diversifying Western Australia’s mining industry.

“Western Australia isn’t just famous for having all the minerals you need to make a battery, we also have the capabilities to progress down the value chain and grow our battery manufacturing and downstream processing industries.”

FBICRC’s CEO Shannon O’Rourke said the launch represents “a major step in Australia’s journey to expand its presence throughout the global battery value chain”.

“The launch of the Cathode Precursor Production Pilot Plant is the culmination of several years of hard work, collaboration and integration by industry-leading partners and academic institutions, to progress the current and future needs of industry,” she continued.

“We’re delighted to see this world class facility up and running.

“The incoming government has committed to a National Battery Strategy which will help to seize local battery manufacturing opportunities. The Cathode Precursor Production Pilot Plant will be a key enabler to build an Australian manufacturing capability.”

Image credit: https://fbicrc.com.au/cathode-facility-officially-launched/