The expanding lithium battery market is presenting a “once in a generation” opportunity for Western Australia. A prominent mining lobbyist is pressing the WA government to develop plans to manufacture lithium batteries in Western Australia, a move that would significantly contribute to the state’s economy.
Western Australia has some of the largest lithium deposits in the world, with our major mines such as Greenbushes contributing a joint effort of over 18, 700 MT of Spodumene ore each year, which is currently sent offshore for further development. Economists believe the international trade in lithium-ion batteries is set to increase from $165 billion to $2 trillion over the next 8 years, with many industry leaders pushing for WA to take its fair share of the cut.
AMEC’s CEO, Warren Pearce said that with the right government and industry collaboration, Australia will be able to increase its share of the market by $297 billion by 2025. Western Australia has already given the go-ahead for a number of processing facilities to refine Spodumene ore into export grade lithium however most of the of the minerals required to domestically manufacture batteries are also found in WA.
AMEC also said that whilst WA is not perfectly positioned to manufacture batteries due to lack of other components, many of the foreign suppliers could be attracted to WA to execute the final, higher value stages of the process.
The WA government have already begun taking action, with the deployment of a lithium and energy materials taskforce charged with developing a strategy for the downstream processing of battery and energy materials within the state.