Covalent Lithium refinery in WA Kwinana a step closer to construction

Monica Gameng   |   September 5, 2021
Mount Holland Lithium project (cr: Mining Technology)

A new lithium refinery is set to be built in Western Australia’s Kwinana Strategic Industrial Area (SIA) after a long-term lease for a 40-hectare site has been granted to Covalent Lithium. 

The Covalent Lithium refinery is part of the integrated Mount Holland Lithium project, which is a joint venture between subsidiaries of Wesfarmers Limited and Chilean company SQM. 

The Mount Holland Lithium project will involve the construction and operation of a spodumene mine as well as concentrator near Mount Holland. 

The entire Mount Holland project is expected to create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and up to 350 operational jobs. 

“The supply of industrial land in the right place, at the right time, is a vital component of a strong and resilient economy – attracting private sector investment, creating Western Australian jobs and driving economic growth. 

“The Kwinana SIA sits in the heart of the State’s premier heavy industrial zone, with access to the Fremantle Port and major road and rail networks. 

“It’s pleasing to see this specialist industrial precinct set to become home to a significant new facility that will ultimately help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and foster a more sustainable energy future,” Lands Minister Tony Buti said. 

The Covalent Lithium refinery is going to be located within the Kwinana SIA, which is approximately 35 kilometres south of Perth CBD and 15 kilometres south of Fremantle Port. 

Once up and running, the new refinery is anticipated to have an 85 per cent recovery rate of lithium contained in the spodumene concentrate. This will allow the refinery to have an annual production capacity of about 45,000 tonnes of battery quality lithium hydroxide. 

The new refinery is now one of three lithium refineries underway in Western Australia. These refineries are set to pave the way for more “value-adding activities” in the industry such as pre-cursor cathode manufacturing – a key priority of the State Government’s Future Battery Industry Strategy. 

“Kwinana is already a thriving hub of activity, with the precinct home to Alcoa, CSBP, Wesfarmers LPG, Tianqi Lithium Australia and Avertas Kwinana Waste to Energy plant. 

“The announcement today delivers on the McGowan Government’s vision to grow its share of the battery materials supply chain, create jobs and diversify our economy, which falls under our Future Battery Industry Strategy,” Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said. 

Western Australia’s 13 Strategic Industrial Areas (SIAs) – which is led by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation and delivered by DevelopmentWA’s Industrial Lands Authority – are located within major resources developments as well as key infrastructure. These SIAs have been designed specifically to cater to downstream processing and other industrial activities. 

“The Kwinana SIA plays a vital role in supporting Western Australia’s economy as it is a key part of the State’s premier heavy industrial corridor. The Kwinana SIA is already home to major chemical, energy and resource-based processing operations. 

“The investment by Covalent Lithium reinforces the importance of the Government’s commitment to establishing a globally advanced manufacturing hub for the industrial corridor between Henderson and Rockingham. 

“The WA Government is committed to continuing to deliver serviced heavy industrial land to attract investment and create new jobs in this area and in other heavy industrial areas across the State,” State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook said. 

Source: Government of Western Australia – Media StatementsCovalent Lithium; Australian Mining 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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