WA Premier Mark McGowan has turned the first sod on Australia’s largest lithium processing plant, which is set to create 500 construction jobs and 500 jobs once fully operational.
The $1 billion Albemarle Kemerton plant is expected to be the largest lithium hydroxide plant in Australia, approved to produce up to 100,000 tonnes of premium battery grade lithium hydroxide per year.
Engineering service company Civmec was selected to build the plant.
United States Ambassador to Australia Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr, alongside State and Federal Members or Parliament and Albemarle representatives joined the Premier at the sod turning ceremony.
The WA Government is collaborating with Albemarle to ensure job opportunities for the plant are maximised for locals in Collie, Bunbury, the wider South-West and the Murray-Wellington region.
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As part of this, the State Government will deliver an Economic Development Plan for the region, which will identify strategies and specific training to assist the South-West workforce to take up jobs created by WA’s Future Battery Industry Strategy.
Western Australia is currently the top global producer of lithium, the second largest producer of rare earths, the third largest producer of cobalt and the fourth largest producer of nickel.
“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,” McGowan said.
“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.”