WA’s largest nickel producer BHP Nickel West has opened a nickel sulphate plant at its Kwinana nickel refinery, the first of its kind in Australia.
The new plant has already produced the first nickel sulphate crystals and is set to become a significant contributor for global production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
Once fully operational, it will produce 100,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate annually and will create 80 new direct jobs and support 400 new indirect jobs.
According to BHP Nickel West Asset President, Jessica Farrell, the plant will produce enough premium nickel sulphate to make 700,000 electric vehicle batteries each year.
“High quality and sustainable nickel is essential for our customers, and we expect demand for nickel in batteries will increase by 500 per cent in the next decade,” said Ms Farrell.
“Our investment to upgrade the refinery to produce high purity nickel sulphate, along with nickel powder and briquettes, will enhance Nickel West’s position as a supplier of choice for the growing global electric battery market.”
State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook congratulated the company on its milestone.
“Significant economic gains can be achieved for WA by building on our strengths in mining to diversify our activities into other segments of the battery value chain, including more onshore materials processing and manufacturing,” he said.
“BHP Nickel West’s nickel sulphate plant is a significant achievement for our State and bolsters the McGowan Government’s efforts to continue diversifying our local industry towards the next step of the battery value chain,” added Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston.
Video: BHP Youtube channel