Neometals has executed an option agreement and memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder for development of a lithium hydroxide refinery near the Goldfields city in Western Australia.
The agreement covers a 40-hectare sub-lease 5km from the Kalgoorlie township for Neometals’ refinery while the MoU provides for assistance in procuring utilities and infrastructure.
The Kalgoorlie lithium refinery is part of Neometals’ plan to bolster further value for its lithium supplies in the wake of the battery boom, and will operate to an initial capacity of 10,000 tonnes a year (t/y).
Lithium will be delivered via the company’s portion of the Mt Marion operation (13.8 per cent ownership) 70km away.
The company is carrying out a front-end engineering design (FEED) study for the refinery, with plans for construction in the June quarter of 2019.
Chris Reed, chief executive officer of Neometals, said the refinery’s location at Kalgoorlie made a lot of sense.
“The strategy to move Neometals downstream towards lithium chemical production is part of a broader evolution of our lithium business arm. The aim is to develop a closed loop lithium ecosystem with access to the lithium raw material source, value adding for use in the battery supply chain and ultimately, recycling of spent batteries,” he explained.
“Kalgoorlie is not only very close to our Mt Marion operation and all the services that a first-class mining town brings, but it also provides a cost advantage owing to the removal of transport, shipping and taxes.
“Reducing transport reduces the environmental footprint which supports margins, but it’s also a critical consideration for the end users who must account for the full life cycle of the materials they consume. Add to that Kalgoorlie’s land availability, leasing rates, access to power/water/gas and a willing local workforce — and the location becomes very compelling.”