WA battery minerals strategy boosts export

Kwinana Nickel Refinery in Western Australia Image: BHP

Western Australia’s battery minerals have contributed $6 billion in export revenue in the 2018-19 financial year, according to a state government report.

Rare earths export was valued at over $355 million during the year.

The Implementation Progress Report released by the state’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston last week also shows a 21 per cent increase in employment within the state’s battery industry in 2018-19.

The sector now employs a total of 14,150 operational jobs within the state.

An additional 2,349 new regional jobs were also created as a result of the new strategy, according to the report.

Johnston said the results were proof that the McGowan Government was on the right track with the strategy implementation.

“The strategy provides consistent and co-ordinated actions to ensure the Western Australian Government is leading the nation’s growth in the uptake of opportunities across the whole global battery value chain, including mining, downstream processing and manufacturing,” he said.

“While the industry has recently faced challenges, the changing nature of technology and the decisions made by international car manufacturers indicate the long-term importance of the industry.”

The statistics are part of a progress report on the Future Battery Industry Strategy, which was launched by the Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan in January last year.

Through this strategy, the Western Australian government aims to capitalise on the state’s potential to produce and process future battery minerals to support industry growth.

Lithium-ion batteries are mostly made from lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt and manganese.

Western Australia is the world’s largest lithium producer and a significant producer of other battery minerals.

The state accounted for 57 per cent of global lithium production and ranked among the top five global producers for nickel (7 per cent global share), manganese (6 per cent), rare earths (6 per cent) and cobalt (3 per cent) in 2018.

As at December 2019, the Western Australian Government has committed almost $3 billion in regional investment in battery industry projects across the state and a further $22 billion in proposed regional projects.

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