Kwinana jobs boost with lithium investment

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
Premier Mark McGowan at this morning’s WA Lithium announcement. Photo: Aiden Boyham
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan at this morning’s WA Lithium announcement. Photo: Aiden Boyham

Kwinana’s journey into becoming a “lithium valley” continued today as the State Government confirmed Western Australian Lithium was set to build a new refinery in Kwinana, which will create more than 700 jobs.

The new plant, which is a 50/50 joint venture between Chilean lithium giant SQM and Kidman Resources, continues an influx of lithium investment in WA and the Kwinana Industrial Area in particular.

Subject to satisfactory studies, construction on the new WA Lithium refinery will start in mid-2019, with about 400 jobs to be created during construction.

In addition, the company’s lithium mine and contractor will create about 300 jobs during construction, with a further 150 jobs to be created during the refinery’s operational phase.

Premier Mark McGowan said getting another processing plant in Kwinana was fantastic news.

“The decision of WA Lithium to progress this new downstream processing plant for lithium here in Kwinana and the new mine south of Southern Cross is terrific news for WA,” he said.

“Lithium is a large part of our state’s future - It’s needed for all sorts of electric cars, mobile phones, iPads, computers, you name it.

“It’s the product of the future and we are blessed to have so much lithium here in WA and what we want to do is make sure we not only mine it but we process it here.”

Sites in Kemerton and Kalgoorlie were considered as other options for the new refinery, however Kwinana’s strategic proximity to port facilities and other nearby chemical companies made it the preferred choice.

The State Government also announced the budget would include provisional funding of $5.5 million to the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia.

“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,” Mr McGowan said.

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