Albemarle awards Kemerton lithium work to BGC Contracting

BGC Contracting has diversified into Western Australia’s ‘Lithium Valley’ for the first time with an earthworks construction contract at Albemarle’s Kemerton lithium project.

The $1 billion Kemerton facility near Bunbury is expected to become the state’s largest lithium manufacturing plant once construction is complete.

BGC Contracting, which started work on the contract last month, will provide early construction access and site facilities installation, site clearing and topsoil management, as well as cut to fill and installation of underground piping and electrical cabling at Kemerton.

The Perth-based company is currently preparing for the start of works at the site.

BGC Contracting project director John Beattie said the company’s first venture into the state’s lithium sector would add to its well-earned reputation.

“The demand for lithium and other specialty metals is growing worldwide and it is exciting for everyone at BGC Contracting that we are involved at this early stage,” Beattie said

“This is a great project for BGC Contracting and for the southwest. It gives us a chance to grow our reputation in the region whilst providing new job opportunities for up to 100 local residents.”

Albemarle secured the federal and state environmental approvals it needed to develop the Kemerton plant in late 2018.

The United States-based company will feed the plant with ore concentrate from its Talison Lithium Greenbushes joint venture with Tianqi Lithium.

Albemarle has proposed that Kemerton will have a production capacity of up to 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide product when fully developed.

BGC Contracting chief executive officer Greg Heylen expects the contract win to present many new opportunities for the contractor.

“Working in accordance with the value of teamwork was pivotal in securing this work. This contract puts us in good stead to compete for future stages of the project, including significant packages for piling, roads and concrete foundations,” Heylen said.

In total, the Kemerton development is creating more than 500 construction jobs and up to 500 permanent jobs when operational.

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