Albemarle Corp’s proposed Kemerton lithium plant in the South West region in Western Australia has received its environmental approval from the state government.
The $1 billion development is expected to create more than 500 construction jobs and another 500 permanent positions when operational.
Albemarle, the United States-based joint venture partner in the Talison Lithium Greenbushes mine, plans to develop the plant in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Zone north-east of Bunbury.
The plant will process spodumene ore concentrate through five process trains to produce 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide product when in operation.
Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine will supply the spodumene ore to the plant. In March, Talison Lithium announced an expansion of the mine, already the world’s largest lithium operation.
Western Australian premier Mark McGowan said the Albemarle lithium plant was another step closer to setting up its operations.
“I’m pleased to see this project progressing, following my positive discussions with Albemarle’s directors during my visit to Washington earlier this year,” McGowan said.
“The state is a world-leading producer of lithium and WA has an abundant supply of lithium and other battery minerals, which is why it’s vital we maximise the opportunities this industry provides, both upstream and downstream, to Western Australians.”
The Kemerton facility is expected to be the largest lithium plant in Western Australia once it has been constructed.
Western Australian environmental minister Stephen Dawson added, “The Albemarle lithium plant has undergone a thorough environmental assessment process by the Environment Protection Authority, which recommended the project could proceed subject to strict environmental conditions.”
Albemarle still requires certain federal approvals before it will make a final investment decision on the project.