One of the world’s biggest lithium refineries is set to be established in Western Australia, south of Perth, leading the rush to take advantage of the “lithium boom”.
The multi-million dollar refinery is a joint venture between Australia’s Kidman Resources and Chilean company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile.
It is expected the refinery will produce about 40,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide each year from a proposed lithium mine in the northern Goldfields.
Additionally, China’s Tianqi Lithium is in the process of setting up a $400 million dollar refinery in Kwinana. US company Albemarle is looking at a lithium plant in Kemerton near Bunbury. Other sites being considered are Ravensthorpe and Port Hedland.
The world’s largest lithium mine is in Greenbushes in WA’s south-west, but other mines and processing plants are underway, with an anticipated flow on of benefits.
Lithium mines need refineries and transport services and infrastructure to take raw materials from mine to refinery.
The demand for lithium-ion batteries required for electric cars offers opportunities for private sector investment in regional WA, not to mention a flow on of thousands of jobs.