Western Australia’s lithium industry could be worth “hundreds of billions of dollars”, according to the Department on Industry Chief Economist – Mark Cully. The department recently released their quarterly report, which expects exports from Australian Resources to reach $252 billion this financial year.
Although the large export numbers are mainly driven by iron, coal and LNG exports, Mr. Cully says that lithium is expected to make a substantial contribution to the overall WA economy.
Mr. Cully also stated that the ability to create a downstream processing industry would allow WA to maximize the opportunities available in the lithium space, increasing the worth of lithium exports from about $1100 a tonne for mineral concentrate to about $23,000 a tonne for refined products such as lithium hydroxide.
“Countries which capitalize on the opportunities of the emerging lithium market could earn hundreds of billions of dollars in coming decades, and could play a pivotal role in fostering a new wave of clean energy technology around the world,” he said.
The Minister for Federal Resources – Matt Canavan, is due to officially release the report today, which will give readers a greater insight into the benefits of lithium in WA.
Mr. Cully also stated that “Exports have risen from about $117 million in 2012 to $780 million in 2017, and are expected to rise to about $1.1 billion by 2020,”.
“Given the pace of change and efforts now under way to solidify the supply chain, it is likely that key decisions around the future of lithium in Australia will need to be made within the next few months,”
“Electric vehicle batteries and other storage devices require around 35 raw materials, and all are readily available in WA. WA also has relatively low energy costs and reliable gas supplies.”
Experts around the nation are working with the state and federal government, in a move to attract technology investment for lithium processing as well as increasing overall value-add to the state.