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Lithium plant given green light near Bunbury

Hundreds of new jobs are anticipated as part of a new processing plant approved for Bunbury in the Southwest of Western Australia.

The world’s biggest lithium miner Albermarle Corporation will require 500 workers to build its $1 billion plant in the Kemerton Industrial area where it expects to produce100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide – a critical ingredient in lithium-ion batteries which power electric vehicles.

Spodumene ore concentrate taken from the Albermarle lithium mine in nearby Greenbushes will be converted at the plant once it is operational with another 500 jobs expected to be created.

Western Australia currently produces more than half the world’s lithium.

According to AMEC, a mining lobby group, the global trade of lithium batteries is predicted to go from $165 billion to $2 trillion in the next eight years.

Mark McGowan, the Western Australian Premier, said hundreds of local jobs would be generated now that the 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 this year,” he said.

A final investment disclosure will be confirmed once Albemarle, which considers the plant a top priority, receives final Federal approvals.

Albemarle has spent $320 million on expansion at the Greenbushes site with its Chinese partner Tianqi Lithium, who has commited $700 million to a processing plant at Kwinana south of Perth.

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