World's biggest lithium refinery

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    WA cashes in on lithium boom as work begins on world's largest lithium refinery
    ABC SOUTH WEST WABy Jacqueline Lynch
    Updated about 8hrs ago
    WATCHduration:29s
    The world's biggest lithium refinery will produce 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide each year (ABC News)
    What is expected to be the world's largest lithium refinery has reached a major milestone, with construction starting on the $1 billion project south of Perth.

    Key points:
    • A new lithium refinery near Bunbury in WA has begun construction, and will annually produce 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide — more than a third of the world's demand for the resource
    • The refinery will create 500 jobs during construction and 500 jobs once operational
    • Premier Mark McGowan says the refinery is the starting point for the state to begin building lithium batteries and become a leading player in the industry
    The Kemerton-based refinery, led by United States company Albemarle, is expected to produce 100,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide each year — more than double that of a refinery planned for the southern Perth suburb of Kwinana.

    Vice president of Albemarle's lithium division, David Klanecky, said it would be the biggest of its kind in the world and produce a large amount of what was demanded across the globe for things like batteries, greases and ceramics.


    500 jobs will be created during construction and another 500 when the plant becomes operational (ABC South West: Jacqueline Lynch)
    A number of other lithium processing plants and mines have been flagged across the state, and WA is already home to the world's largest lithium mine in Greenbushes.

    No word on new research centre
    The WA Government has also made a bid to the Federal Government to host a lithium battery research centre, which would look into the sourcing of materials and deployment of batteries in the community.


    WA's South West is already home to the world's largest lithium mine. (ABC News: Sean Murphy)
    Senator Birmingham would not be drawn on whether WA had been successful in its attempts for a battery research centre.

    "It's a highly competitive process with a range of competing proposals in different industry sectors right across the country," he said.

    But Senator Birmingham said an announcement would be made on the research centre in coming weeks.
 
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