Chinese company Tianqi Lithium has approved $300 million in funding for stage 2 development of its Kwinana lithium processing plant in Western Australia, doubling its annual capacity.
The expansion announcement follows on from stage 1 construction, which commenced in October 2016 at a cost of $400 million. Stage 2 construction is expected to be complete by late 2019.
Production capacity will leap 100 per cent from 24,000 tonnes per annum to 48,000 tonnes per annum as a result of the investment; the project will focus on spodumene extraction from the Greenbushes mine for use as lithium hydroxide in batteries. Permanent positions at the plant are also expected to jump by over 50 per cent as result.
“Demand for lithium continues to grow, fuelled by its use in renewable energy storage and electric car batteries,” said WA premier Mark McGowan.
“This is great news for Western Australians and I thank Tianqi Lithium for its investment in our State.”
The lead contractor for the design of the plant is MSP Engineering (previously McSweeney Partners), known for several high-profile projects. 500 workers are currently at the site, and the expansion is expected to prolong 200 jobs and create up to 60 more (especially operational work).