The Government of Western Australia has welcomed the announcement by mining company, Lynas Corporation, to build a processing plant near Kalgoorlie that will deliver local jobs and provide a range of supply opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses in the Goldfields.
The new plant will process rare earth materials from the company's Mt Weld mine, currently undertaken in Malaysia and is expected to generate approximately 500 construction and 200 ongoing jobs in the region.
Rare earths are a vital component in advanced manufacturing for the renewable energy, aerospace and defence industries, all of which are expected to experience rising demand according to the state government.
Western Australia's rare earths industry is still expanding, in 2018-19 the State produced 29,000 tonnes valued at over $355 million, and experienced an increase of 3 per cent in direct employment.
The Mt Weld Central Lanthanide Deposit is one of the highest grade rare earth deposits in the world, and a prime example of the State's globally-significant deposits of battery and rare earth minerals.
"The decision by Lynas Corporation is a fantastic result for Kalgoorlie, the Goldfields region and Western Australia," said Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan.
"This investment in infrastructure, the local workforce and research, is a key example of how the WA Government is working with industry to diversify the economy and deliver jobs of the future.
"Kalgoorlie has a long and rich history in mining innovation, so there is no better place for Lynas Corporation, and other multi-national businesses, to set up their processing operations.
"I'm pleased Lynas will continue to work with Curtin University and the WA School of Mines to enhance knowledge and technologies surrounding the processing of critical minerals in Australia and continue to upskill Western Australians for these important local roles," he said.
Minister for Mining and Petroleum, Bill Johnston, said the McGowan Government's Future Battery industry Strategy is focused on positioning WA at the centre of the global battery supply chain, including supplying battery materials and critical minerals.
"Downstream processing is a key plank of the Strategy, which actively supports investment that enables raw minerals to be processed into more valuable products, creating jobs and diversifying the economy," he said.