- Project to create up to 620 jobs during construction and operations
The Liberal National Government has welcomed the start of construction on a new $400 million lithium processing plant in Kwinana.
Premier Colin Barnett turned the first sod of soil at a ceremony at the project site in Kwinana today, along with Tianqi Lithium Corporation chairman Jiang Weiping.
"This project is a major development for Western Australia and will boost the local economy in Kwinana, with up to 500 jobs to be created during the construction process," Mr Barnett said.
"More than 115 employees will be needed once the project becomes operational toward the end of 2018.
"The project will also generate benefits for the South-West of the State, with production likely to double at the Greenbushes mine, near Bunbury, to supply the Kwinana plant."
Global demand for lithium is rising due its use in renewable energy storage and electric car batteries. Lithium is also used in the glass and ceramics industry.
State Development Minister Bill Marmion said the Liberal National Government had worked closely with Tianqi's Australian subsidiary to secure the investment for WA.
"A concerted effort was made to ensure a suitable site and cross-government approvals were secured, in order for a timely investment decision to be made," Mr Marmion said.
"This is an important manufacturing project which adds value to natural resources development in Western Australia and increases our capacity to produce higher value products."
Lands Minister Terry Redman said Tianqi had recently finalised a lease with LandCorp for up to 49 years, over a 20-hectare site within the Western Trade Coast.
"The proximity to vital infrastructure and support services and the port and skilled labour provided by the Western Trade Coast, were significant factors in the State's success in attracting this project," Mr Redman said.
- Lithium is a soft silver-white metal. It is the lightest of the alkali metals
- Tianqi Lithium Australia announced its final investment decision for the project in September 2016
- The project will have a capacity of 24,000 tonnes per year, processing WA-mined spodumene into lithium hydroxide
- Tianqi owns 51 per cent of Talison Lithium, which operates the Greenbushes mine south-west of Bunbury
- In 2014-15, WA produced lithium, tantalum and tin worth $143 million
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