Construction begins on Australia’s biggest lithium processing plant

by WA Government News | Mar 28, 2019
  • Premier Mark McGowan turns sod on Albemarle lithium plant in Kemerton 
  • Plant to create 500 construction jobs and another 500 jobs once fully operational
  • Project progressed following discussions between Premier and Albemarle directors in Washington DC in early 2018
  • McGowan Government capitalising on unique sector with creation of Lithium and Energy Materials Taskforce and launch of Future Battery Industry Strategy 

Premier Mark McGowan today joined United States Ambassador to Australia, Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr., State and Federal Members of Parliament and Albemarle representatives to officially turn the sod on the Albemarle lithium hydroxide processing plant in Kemerton.

The Albemarle Kemerton Plant is a $1 billion investment in Western Australia that will create 500 construction jobs and another 500 jobs in the South-West, once operational.

It will become Australia's largest lithium hydroxide plant, with approval to produce up to 100,000 tonnes per annum of premium battery grade lithium hydroxide.

The McGowan Government is working with Albemarle to ensure job opportunities are maximised for local workers in Collie, Bunbury, the wider South-West and the Murray-Wellington region.

This includes delivering an Economic Development Plan for the region, which will identify strategies and specific training to assist the South-West workforce to take up job opportunities created by WA's Future Battery Industry Strategy.

The McGowan Government is capitalising on the State's unique resources and growth in the lithium-ion battery sector with the launch of the State's Future Battery Industry Strategy, and the creation of the Lithium and Energy Materials Taskforce.

Western Australia is currently the number one global producer of lithium, the second largest global producer of rare earths, the third largest global producer of cobalt and the fourth largest global producer of nickel.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

"I'm pleased to be taking part in today's sod-turning to mark the start of construction on Australia's biggest lithium hydroxide project, the Albemarle Kemerton Plant.

"In February 2018, I met with representatives from Albemarle in Washington DC to discuss the possibility of launching a lithium project of this magnitude in WA. I congratulate Albemarle on making this vision become a reality.

"My Government's number one priority is creating local jobs for local workers, so we have been working with Albemarle to make sure there are opportunities for local South-West workers from Collie, Bunbury and Murray-Wellington.

"With up to 1,000 local jobs being created, this project will be a huge economic boost for the South-West region and will show the capability Western Australia has in the lithium-ion battery sector." 

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