Sure People Solutions Proudly Part Of The Kwinana Lithium Refinery, Helping To Deliver Hundreds Of Jobs Wa
May 4th, 2018
perths Kwinana has been chosen as the site of a lithium refinery, which is expected to run as a joint venture between Chilean lithium giant SQM and Kidman Resources.
Kidman shares were placed in a trading halt this morning ahead of the announcement about the plant, which will process ore from Kidman’s Earl Grey deposit at its Mt Holland project near Southern Cross.
Premier Mark McGowan and Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston were on site for a sod-turning ceremony of the proposed new plant on Mason Road this morning.
Kalgoorlie and Kemerton were touted as other options for the lithium processing plant, but it is understood the proximity to port facilities and other chemical companies that will provide inputs into the plant mean Kwinana emerged as the obvious choice.
The plant, which is expected to be commissioned by 2021, will process raw lithium ore from Earl Grey with an annual output of 44,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide or 37,000t of lithium carbonate.
Kidman managing director and chief executive Martin Donohue said choosing the site was a major leap forward for the Western Australia Lithium joint venture.
“The benefits of the Kwinana site vastly outweigh those of the other sites we considered,” he said.
“Importantly, this announcement follows our recent comments regarding the high level of interest we have experienced from various parties seeking refined lithium offtake.”
In July last year, Kidman announced it would hand over 50 per cent of its project to the Santiago-based, New York-listed SQM in exchange for a cash payment of $US30 million, staged payments of $US80 million and a convertible loan of $US21.5 million.
Under the terms of the deal, Kidman also has the option to take a 50 per cent stake in the lithium refinery SQM plans to build at Kwinana.
The Earl Grey deposit at Mt Holland, which hosts a 1.84 million tonne resource, is still open with an estimated mine life of more than 50 years, underpinning plans for the refinery.
About 200 jobs are expected be created during the mine’s construction and about 200 once operating.
At the refinery, up to 200 jobs are expected to be created during construction and 180 full-time jobs in production.
Mr McGowan also announced next week’s State Budget would include provisional funding of $5.5 million to the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia 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.”
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said WA was well-placed to capitalise on the growing battery market.
“Western Australia is the world’s largest producer of lithium, and the announcement today cements our State as an investment destination for downstream processing,” he said.
Kidman shares last changed hands for $2.05.