Talison Lithium raised its interest in a site near Wesfarmers’ LPG operation three years ago and has since spent about $2 million planning the plant, flagged to open in 2017.
The lithium produced by Talison is used in batteries for consumer electronics, electric bicycles, buses and passenger vehicles and is used in aerospace alloys, wind turbines, glass and ceramics.
At a Communities Industry Forum meeting held in Kwinana last month, representatives from neighbouring companies, including BP and Alcoa, voiced support for the project.
Talison Lithium general manager of technology Kevin O’Keefe said the project would require 400 skilled workers for construction and a further 90 during operation.
Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton said Talison Lithium was an important development for the Kwinana Industrial Area.
‘It has been many years since a high-end refining company has wanted to establish an operation here,’ he said. ‘Part of the reason for the decision to locate the refinery here was the access to the input/output supply chains of the existing industries.
‘Talison Lithium will not create any new competition between existing companies as it is an entirely new process to the strip.’
The company supplies one third of the world’s lithium, from operations at Greenbushes in the South-West of WA and Chile.