There’s more than 100,000 jobs and $50 billion in economic activity up for grabs if a “Lithium Valley” is set up in Western Australia, according to Curtin University’s Professor Peter Newman, one of the authors behind a new report calling for the state to become a battery manufacture and technology leader.
According to Newman, Western Australia is a one-stop shop for all the materials needed to power the new economy, and says a “Lithium Valley” should be set up in Kwinana, Perth, leveraging off the recent announcement of a lithium hydroxide refinery being built, and Tesla’s recent meeting with the state government.
The report – Lithium Valley: Establishing the case for energy metals and battery manufacturing in Western Australia – says WA is home to the world’s most accessible abundance of energy metals, including lithium, cobalt, vanadium, tin, tantalum, nickel, manganese, magnesium and rare earths – essential components in batteries and other renewable tech.
“No other place in the world has all of them,” Professor Newman told The Fifth Estate. Not only should Australia be mining the ingredients needed for electric batteries, it needs to be adding value by doing the refining and manufacture of the end products, the new report argues.
For example, for lithium “there are ways now to create high-quality mineral products that can be combined into electrochemical processes that are then made into batteries”, it says. “There is no reason why this should not be done here.”
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