The McGowan Government has welcomed Tianqi Lithium’s final investment decision to expand its processing plant currently under construction at Kwinana.
The project will take spodumene from the Greenbushes mine south-east of Bunbury and process and refine it into battery-grade lithium hydroxide for export.
Construction on the $400 million Stage 1 commenced in October 2016, with an initial production capacity of 24,000 tonnes per year.
The Tianqi board has now approved a $300 million second stage for the project, doubling the annual capacity to 48,000 tonnes. Approvals for the project are already in place and completion is expected in late 2019.
Stage 2 is expected to commence construction immediately, extending work for the existing pool of up to 500 construction workers working on the current project.
Permanent positions on the completed processing plant are expected to grow from more than 115 to more than 175 as part of the expansion.
Tianqi owns 51 per cent of Talison Lithium, which operates the Greenbushes mine, and is investing its share of $300 million to double production at Greenbushes to support the Kwinana facility, supporting 200 construction jobs and creating up to 60 new operational positions.