Civmec contracted by Albemarle to develop WA lithium plant

The Greenbushes site.

Engineering services company Civmec has been chosen by Albemarle to construct a lithium hydroxide plant in Western Australia.

The Albemarle Kemerton Plant at the Kemerton strategic industrial area near Bunbury will be WA’s largest lithium hydroxide plant upon completion. The plant will initially consist of three production trains for a capacity of 60,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide a year (20,000 tonnes for each train), with the capacity to add two more trains to expand to 100,000 tonnes a year by 2025.

Construction of the $1.3 billion plant will require around 300 staff and is expected to take place from mid-2019 to March 2021.

Earthworks commenced at the start of 2019 at the project’s 89-hectare site. The project will provide downstream processing services for spodumene concentrate from Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine, in which Albemarle holds a 49 per cent interest (the other 51 per cent belongs to Chinese company Tianqi Lithium).

United States-based Albemarle had originally planned for production to begin slightly earlier (sometime in 2020) with a 25-year operating life.

“This two-year project is ideally suited to our operations, fabricating, modularising and site erecting steel work for the key Western Australian development,” said Civmec chief executive officer, Patrick Tallon.

“This project reflects the growing confidence in the WA resource industry, highlighting a bright future for the coming years.”

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