Covalent Lithium gets the go-ahead for Kwinana refinery


Covalent Lithium has signed a lease with the Western Australian Government for a new Kwinana lithium refinery, south of Perth.

A joint venture between Wesfarmers and Chilean company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), Covalent will target 50,000 tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide once the refinery is operational.

The target will be enough to aid production of up to one million electric vehicles each year.

The project should create around 1000 construction jobs and 350 jobs once operational, however, a construction date has not yet been announced.

The Kwinana Strategic Industrial Area (SIA) is already home to a range of companies, including two other lithium refineries under construction.

Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade Roger Cook said the 40-hectare site would entrench Covalent in a fast-growing industry and region of Western Australia.

“The investment by Covalent Lithium reinforces the importance of the Government’s commitment to establishing a globally advanced manufacturing hub for the industrial corridor between Henderson and Rockingham,” he said.

“The WA Government is committed to continuing to deliver serviced heavy industrial land to attract investment and create new jobs in this area and in other heavy industrial areas across the State.”

The refinery will be fed by Covalent’s Mount Holland mining and concentrator operations, 500 kilometres east of Perth.

The operation is currently targeting more than 340,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate each year.

Lands Minister Tony Buti said it was promising to see the Kwinana SIA welcome another operator.

“The supply of industrial land in the right place, at the right time, is a vital component of a strong and resilient economy – attracting private sector investment, creating Western Australian jobs and driving economic growth,” Buti said.

“It’s pleasing to see this specialist industrial precinct set to become home to a significant new facility that will ultimately help to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and foster a more sustainable energy future.”

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.