The spark plug of the world’s electric cars – by Jonathan Pearlman (Singapore Strait Times – January 3, 2017)

A vast stretch of remote territory in Western Australia has become the epicentre of the world’s electric car and battery storage boom. The area, once famous for sourcing the iron ore that supplied China’s construction boom, is now providing the lithium required for the world’s so-called energy revolution.

Australia is the world’s largest supplier of lithium, with roughly half of the global supply coming from a growing number of mines scattered across the resource-rich state of Western Australia. The amount is due to increase in the coming years as several large-scale projects start extractions.

An expert on mining economics, Professor Allan Trench of the University of Western Australia Business School, said lithium extraction in the region has had “exceptionally fast growth”. He told The Straits Times that the explorations and discoveries are likely to continue.

“Nobody has really gone out looking for these (lithium deposits) seriously before,” he said. “There are rapidly expanding massive discoveries in Western Australia. There has never been the strong stimulus to go out and look for it before.”

A mine at Mount Holland, a venture about 450km east of Perth run by Kidman Resources, is believed to have one of the biggest deposits of lithium in the world.

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