BHP nickel outlay signals confidence

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph

Local stakeholders in Kwinana have welcomed the news that BHP’s Nickel West division is set to invest $US43.2 million for a nickel sulphate project at its Kwinana refinery.

BHP’s investment in the Kwinana project is part of the company’s plans to become the biggest exporter in the world of nickel sulphate, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of cathode precursor used in lithium-ion batteries.

The plans for the project, first announced at the Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie on August 9, were welcomed by City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams.

“It is fantastic to see major investment such as this continuing to cement the Western Trade Coast as Western Australia’s industrial powerhouse,” Ms Adams said.

“While any proposal of this nature has to go through rigorous local and State Government approvals, it is of course welcome news that yet another significant investment has been secured for the State’s premier industrial area.”

Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton echoed the City’s sentiments and said BHP’s decision was another example of big industry being confident that the industrial area was a good place to invest.

“Investment like this translates directly into construction and ongoing jobs for people in our community,” Mr Oughton said. “All of the talk about the Kwinana Port finally coming to fruition would have to be sending signals to national and international business interests that the Kwinana industrial area has a future worth investing in.”

BHP’s investment in the Kwinana industrial area in the pursuit of joining the new energy revolution follows on from China’s Tianqi Lithium’s interest in the region.

Tianqi Lithium, which is already in the process of building a $400 million lithium hydroxide processing plant in Kwinana, was reportedly looking at a $317 million expansion of the facility.

Pending approvals, a BHP spokeswoman said the project would employ between 200-300 people, with a number of West Australian service providers to be used.

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