Western Australia has a significant proportion of global battery minerals, including lithium (9%), cobalt (17%), nickel (25%), alumina (20%), manganese (14%), vanadium (9.5%), and non-battery minerals used in the manufacturing of electric vehicles and energy storage systems, such as rare earths.
This edition covers recent successes across Western Australia’s resources sector, including Woodside’s investment in its operations in the North West, a profile of Golden Gecko winning projects from the department’s 2018 Awards for Excellence and celebrating 130 years of the Geological Survey of Western Australia.
The latest edition of Prospect magazine is now available for download: http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Investors/Prospect-magazine-16525.aspx
“Western Australia is the largest single producer of lithium worldwide, accounting for 42% of lithium production in 2017.”
ALBEMARLE LITHIUM HYDROXIDE PROCESSING PLANT AT KEMERTON
Site works began in January on Albemarle Corporation’s lithium hydroxide manufacturing plant, located in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area in Western Australia’s South West.
The Albemarle Kemerton Plant will create more than 500 construction jobs and an initial 100 operational jobs, increasing to 500 at full operational capacity. Commissioning of the Kemerton Plant is expected to begin in 2021
“I am pleased that the State Government could facilitate the necessary approvals to allow Albemarle to begin bulk earthworks at the Kemerton site,” Acting Premier Roger Cook said.
“Three of the world’s four largest producers of lithium are developing downstream processing projects to produce lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate, and nickel sulphate in Western Australia: Tianqi (China), Albermarle (US) and SQM (Chile).”
NEW CEO TO HELP SHAPE MINERALS RESEARCH IN WA
Nicole Roocke has been announced as the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia’s (MRIWA) new chief executive officer after the retirement of former CEO Mark Woffenden late last year.
“MRIWA is working with the State Government on developing strategies to create a world-leading lithium and energy material industry in Western Australia,” Ms Roocke said.
“Our State is the ideal place to host the CRC. We have the resources, highly skilled workers and technical expertise, and we’re also the largest producer of lithium in the world.”
CURRENT LITHIUM PROJECTS
Greenbushes Lithium Mine Expansion TALISON LITHIUM AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
Talison Lithium Australia Pty Ltd operates the Greenbushes lithium mine in Western Australia. 51 per cent of Talison shares are held by Tianqi Lithium and 49 per cent by Albemarle Corporation. The Greenbushes mine contains the highest grade of hard rock lithium in the world and supplies a third of the global lithium supply. Talison has announced a two-stage expansion project at Greenbushes which will ncrease the annual production capacity from the current 650 tonnes per annum to 1.35Mtpa by Q2 2019 and then to 1.95Mtpa by Q4.
The increased production will meet the feedstock requirements of the Tianqi Lithium (Kwinana) and the Albemarle Corporation (Kemerton) lithium hydroxide processing plants. Global lithium hydroxide demand has increased principally as a result of its critical use in lithium batteries for hybrid vehicles and energy storage.
Employment: Construction: 500
Lithium Hydroxide Processing Plant TIANQI LITHIUM AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
Tianqi Lithium Australia Pty Ltd holds a 51 per cent interest in Talison Lithium, the operator of the Greenbushes mine in the South West of Western Australia. The company has committed to a major expansion of the mine and the construction of a lithium hydroxide processing plant at the Kwinana Strategic Industrial Area, south of Perth. The processing plant will be constructed in two stages. The first stage will accommodate the production of 24ktpa of lithium hydroxide. The second stage will expand the plant to produce up to 48ktpa of lithium hydroxide. Lithium hydroxide is a highly-valued resource for industries involved in electric vehicles, energy storage, aviation and other technological industries.
Employment: Construction: 500
Wodgina Lithium Project MINERAL RESOURCES LTD
The Wodgina lithium mine, located approximately 120km south of Port Hedland, contains the world’s largest known reserve of hard rock lithium with an estimated total mineral resource of 259 Mt and a mine life beyond 30 years. Mineral Resources Limited (MRL) is progressing the Wodgina Lithium Project in three stages as follows: (1) the export of direct shipping ore; (2) the construction of a spodumene concentrate plant, which is well advanced and scheduled for completion in 2019; and (3) subject to a final decision to proceed, the construction of a lithium hydroxide processing plant in conjunction with Albemarle.
Employment: Construction: Approximately 450
Operation: Approximately 200