China’s Tianqi Lithium has green-lit a $300 million expansion of its processing plant, which is currently under construction in Kwinana.
The project involves taking spodumene from the Greenbushes mine south-east of Bunbury, to process and refine it into battery-grade lithium hydroxide for export.
Construction on the $400 million Stage 1 commenced in October 2016, with an initial production capacity of 24,000 tonnes per year.
The Tianqi board has now approved a $300 million second stage for the project, doubling the annual capacity to 48,000 tonnes.
Premier Mark McGowan said this is a great investment in our state.
“Demand for lithium continues to grow, fuelled by its use in renewable energy storage and electric car batteries,” he said.
“Combining work at the processing plant and the mine, the growth in Tianqi’s operations is expected to create more than 735 construction and operational jobs for workers in Perth’s south and WA’s South-West.
Construction for stage two of the project is expected to commence immediately and permanent positions on the completed processing plant are expected to grow from more than 115 to more than 175 as part of the expansion.
Tianqi owns 51 per cent of Talison Lithium, which operate the Greenbushes mine. They are investing a share of $300 million to double production at Greenbushes to support the Kwinana facility.
The new project will support 200 construction jobs and create up to 60 new operational positions.
The project has been approved and completion is expected in late 2019.