Covalent Lithium has received the approvals it requires to enter the construction and operational phases at the Mt Holland lithium project in Western Australia.
Covalent is a joint venture between Wesfarmers and Sociedad Quimica y Mineral de Chile S.A (SQM).
The final critical approval was granted by Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority for construction and operation of the project’s lithium hydroxide refinery in Kwinana.
“The Mt Holland lithium project has now received all critical approvals, and construction and project development have commenced,” Wesfarmers stated.
Wesfarmers reached a final investment decision with SQM for the $US1.4 billion ($1.9 billion) Mt Holland project in February.
The Mt Holland project is comprised of Mt Holland mine, a spodumene concentrator and the lithium hydroxide refinery which is located in Kwinana.
Covalent is aiming to produce 45,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year once the plant is completed.
The company is targeting a mine life of more than 40 years at 45,000-tonne production rate, with an 85 per cent targeted recovery of spodumene in its concentrator.
According to Covalent, the spodumene concentrator will produce more than 340,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate per year.
SQM chief executive Ricardo Ramos said Mt Holland will meet demand for electric vehicles.
“We remain confident regarding the outlook for the lithium market and believe that Mt Holland is a high-quality project that will play an important role supporting increased demand for electric vehicle batteries,” Ramos said in February.
Mt Holland will produce lithium hydroxide from the second half of 2024.
The mine is located on the unrehabilitated Bounty Gold operation, which was operated by Aztec Mining from 1988 to 2002.
“The development of the Mt Holland lithium project presents an attractive investment for Wesfarmers shareholders,” Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said in February.
“The project capitalises on our chemicals, energy and fertilisers divisions’ chemical processing expertise and Western Australia’s unique position to support growing global demand for electric vehicle battery materials which will make a crucial contribution to global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”