- New BHP Nickel West nickel sulphate plant is Australia's first
Plant has created 80 direct jobs and 400 indirect jobs
First nickel sulphate crystals produced in September and plant to be significant for global production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles
The McGowan Government today congratulated BHP Nickel West on the opening of its nickel sulphate plant at the company's Kwinana nickel refinery, the first in Australia.
Nickel sulphate is a key material in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.
The new facility has the potential to exceed 100,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate per year at 99.99 per cent purity, which is enough to make 700,000 batteries for EVs.
More than 85 per cent of BHP's current production is sold to the future-battery supply chain.
BHP's nickel operations include Mt Keith, Cliffs and Leinster, and it has concentrators at Mt Keith, Leinster and Kambalda, and a smelter in Kalgoorlie and the Kwinana refinery.
As part of BHP's focus to minimise environmental impacts, 50 per cent of the Kwinana refinery's electricity needs will be powered by solar.
As WA's largest nickel producer, Nickel West plays an important role in supporting the McGowan Government's goal of becoming a world-leader in future battery minerals, materials, technology and expertise.
WA is the world's fourth largest nickel producer, with more than $3.3 billion in sales in 2020.
Comments attributed to State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook:
"Congratulations to BHP Nickel West on its new nickel sulphate plant and its contribution to growing WA's economy and creating local jobs.
"Nickel is essential to decarbonisation and WA has some of the largest and highest-grade nickel sulphide deposits in the world, in addition to leading mining and mineral expertise.
"Significant economic gains can be achieved for WA by building on our strengths in mining to diversify our activities into other segments of the battery value chain, including more onshore materials processing and manufacturing.
"This milestone for BHP Nickel West reinforces the importance of the Government's commitment to establishing a globally advanced manufacturing hub for the industrial corridor between Henderson and Rockingham."
Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:
"BHP Nickel West's nickel sulphate plant is a significant achievement for our State and bolsters the McGowan Government's efforts to continue diversifying our local industry towards the next step of the battery value chain.
"Through the WA Recovery Plan, we have committed $13.2 million to facilitate a global precursor cathode manufacturer to build a facility in WA.
"WA is the only State to have a clear strategy supporting the development of a world-leading future battery industry that will create jobs and benefit regional communities."
State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister's office - 6552 6500
Petroleum Minister's office - 6552 6700