Lithium booms shows no sign of slowing as new refinery announced for WA – by Jarrod Lucas and Jon Daly (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – June 6, 2018)

A Western Australian lithium miner is tipping the current boom for battery technologies will last at least a decade, as plans were revealed on Wednesday for a new lithium refinery in the Goldfields.

China’s appetite for lithium continues to drive the boom, with lithium most commonly used in new generation batteries for electric vehicles and home power storage. Lithium miner Neometals has revealed plans to build a downstream processing plant in Kalgoorlie-Boulder at a cost of about $200 million, creating more than 100 jobs.

The decision marks potentially the biggest economic shake-up for the regional mining hub since the construction of the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter in the 1970s and the start of the Super Pit gold mine in the late 1980s.

New lithium refinery to employ about 100

Neometals owns a 13.8 per cent stake in the Mt Marion lithium mine, 40km south-east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. The ASX-listed miner has struck a deal with the Kalgoorlie-Boulder City Council to sub-lease a 40-hectare site in a new industrial estate in West Kalgoorlie.

Chief executive Chris Reed said a final investment decision was due by the middle of next year following the completion of feasibility studies. “The Kalgoorlie Lithium Refinery will look to employ more than 100 people … we’ve got more than 200 workers down at Mt Marion,” he said.

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