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published November 1, 2021 on The West Australian

The Kwinana Industrial Area’s Lithium Valley is vastly evolving with the newest resident, Covalent Lithium, recently entering a long-term lease for its refinery.

The Kwinana Industrial Area’s Lithium Valley is vastly evolving with the newest resident, Covalent Lithium, recently entering a long-term lease for its refinery.

A joint venture between SQM and Wesfarmers subsidiaries, the project has secured a site in Kwinana as part of its plans to add to the State’s onshore mineral resource processing.

The Kwinana refinery will receive spodumene concentrate, which will be produced at Covalent Lithium’s future Mount Holland mine and concentrator plant – also under construction, and then refine it to high-purity battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

Covalent Lithium Commissioning and Technical Manager (and Kwinana Industrial Council President) Albert Romano said the project was expected to create around 1000 construction jobs.

“The plant is expected to produce approximately 50,000 nominal tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide monohydrate,” he said.

“The project’s capital expenditure will support numerous local designs, fabrication and construction businesses and their associated workers.

It is estimated to generate more than $800 million in royalty payments to the State, with the annual operations expected to give rise to 350 operational ongoing new jobs directly, as well as a range of indirect jobs associated with servicing related transport, utilities, reagents, maintenance, and a range of other services sourced from competitive local Western Australian businesses.”

Once complete, the refinery will have the capacity to support the production of batteries for up to one million electric vehicles each year and reduce global carbon emissions by 1.6 million tonnes per

The Kwinana location was selected for several reasons, including the co-location of similar industrial operations which can more efficiently share each other’s infrastructure and buffer zone, according to Mr Romano.

“The Kwinana Industrial Area is close to established utilities and reagent supply,” he said.

“It has close-proximity to arterial transport routes, including an established port at Kwinana and Fremantle, which were both influencing factors when making a decision on the selected location.

The site also allows easy future expansion if needed and is in close proximity to construction services, fabrication services and a skilled labour pool.”

Covalent Lithium’s refinery is now one of three lithium refineries under various stages of construction in WA that will pave the way for further value-adding activities.

Mr. Chris Oughton, Director of Kwinana Industries Council said Covalent was welcomed as a member well before the first soil was turned on the site, and the decision of the company to locate in Kwinana was positively influenced by the product and co-product materials exchanges, which has previously seen the Kwinana industrial area recognised as a world leader on the international industrial symbiosis stage.

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