A PROPOSED multi-million dollar lithium processing plant is a step closer to reality after receiving planning permission from the Southwest Metropolitan Joint Development Assessment Panel on August 31.
Tianqi Lithium Australia Pty Ltd intends to construct and operate the plant on an about 20- hectare site on Mason Road, Kwinana Beach.
City of Kwinana councillors got the ball rolling when they voted unanimously to recommend the City’s Responsible Authority Report (RAR) covering air quality, noise levels and infrastructure for stage 1 of the plant be sent for approval to the Joint Development Assessment Panel.
The panel’s decision is valid for two years and subject to the various industrial and environmental concerns outlined in the City of Kwinana’s RAR.
Stage 1 of the plant is expected to produce 23,950 tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide with it being exported to make lithium batteries.
That lithium will be produced from about 160,900 tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate from the Talison Mine at Greenbushes, south of Perth.
By-products from the process such as sodium sulphate will be exported for use in detergents.
Aluminosilicate and gypsum will be marketed locally to building and agriculture industries.
Cr Sandra Lee expected a boost for local employment.
“Lithium for batteries is used widely and hopefully this will be a successful and long-term plant for employment,” she said.
The estimated development cost of the application is in excess of $10 million.
The plant is proposed to operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and with up to 60 employees working on site at any one time.
Mayor Carol Adams said it was a major project.
“This is a significant development for the area, not just Kwinana and the Chinese owners but for Western Australia,” she said.