WA set to get another large lithium refinery

Western Australia Lithium, a joint venture between Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile and Kidman Resources, is planning to build a new lithium refinery in Kwinana, south of Perth.

The refinery could produce about 40,000 tonnes per annum of lithium carbonate and/or lithium hydroxide from the mineral processed at the proposed mine and concentrator at Mt Holland, south-east of Southern Cross.

On Friday, WA Lithium announced signing an agreement to enter into an Option to Lease with LandCorp for the selected site.  The construction of the refinery is set to start in mid-2019, subject to satisfactory studies.

Western Australia premier Mark McGowan and the state minister for mines and petroleum Bill Johnston also announced the state budget would include provisional funding of $5.5 million to the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA), to support development and manufacturing of technology metals and renewable energy sources.

“The state government will continue to support the development of renewable energy technologies, and the $5.5 million in provisional funds will be made available to the MRIWA if it is successful in the bid to establish a New Energy Industry Cooperative Research Centre in WA,” premier Mark McGowan said.

MRIWA will invest the funds, if successful, in its bid to establish a New Energy Industry Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) in WA.

The New Energy Industry CRC’s objective will be to create value, through industry-led research, and drive global demand for local products, services and solutions.

“Western Australia is the world’s largest producer of lithium, and the announcement today cements our State as an investment destination for downstream processing,” the state minister for mines and petroleum Bill Johnston said.

“Our reserves of lithium, nickel, cobalt and other metals, required for new energy technologies, combined with our technical skills and our close proximity to Asia, means WA is well-placed to capitalise on the growing battery market,” he added.