Expansion of Albemarle's Kemerton processing plant to create 1000 jobs

Monica Gameng   |   May 5, 2023
Kemerton project (cr: Albemarle)

Albemarle has announced its plans to expand its Kemerton hydroxide plant in Western Australia, and the State Government welcomes this news. 

The proposed expansion will deliver two more processing trains, making the Kemerton facility the largest and most advanced lithium hydroxide processing facility outside China. 

“We welcome Albemarle’s decision to expand its Kemerton lithium hydroxide plant and continue to invest in advanced mineral processing in WA. 

“As demand for battery and critical minerals continues to increase, so does supply chain opportunities for WA. 

“The WA Government is committed to making sure the State capitalises on its status as the powerhouse of the nation’s battery and critical minerals sector and continues to grow its multi-billion-dollar processing industry,” State Development, Jobs and Trade Minister Roger Cook said. 

The estimated capital expenditure to add trains three and four to the Kemerton operations stands at more than US$1 billion, which builds on the more than US$1 billion capital expenditure to deliver the first two trains. 

Once all four trains are up and running, the Kemerton processing plant will be able to convert up to 100,000 metric tonnes of spodumene from the Greenbushes mine to battery-grade lithium annually. 

The Kemerton Expansion Project is expected to support up to 1,000 jobs at peak construction period.

Works on the expansion are anticipated to commence immediately, with the first production from the expanded facility expected in 2026. 

“Albemarle’s lithium hydroxide plant in Kemerton is one of the best examples of what WA has to offer the world when it comes to battery and critical mineral supply chains. 

“The expansion of the plant is great news for the region, the State and Australia. 

“For years to come, Albemarle’s lithium hydroxide plant will support jobs, grow advanced manufacturing in the South-West and deliver economic benefits for the whole State,” Premier Mark McGowan said. 

The Kemerton lithium hydroxide processing plant is located at the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, near Bunbury.

The overall Kemerton Project is being developed in two phases. The first phase includes the construction, commissioning, ramp-up and operations of the first two production trains that have a production capacity of 50,000 metric tonnes of lithium hydroxide a year at full capacity. 

On the other hand, phase two of the project – the Kemerton Expansion Project – will deliver another two processing trains that will double production capacity as well as enable future enhancements of production quality. 

alb-au-kemerton-map-insetProject location (source: Albemarle)

The first two processing trains at the Kemerton facility will have an operational workforce of about 480 people, with 90 per cent of the workforce living in the region. The operational workforce is projected to increase to 850 once trains three and four are completed. 

In addition to the development of the Kemerton plant, Albemarle is also developing a high quality, sustainable workforce accommodation precinct near Australind which, over time, is going to be transitioned to a permanent residential estate. This project is estimated to cost $140 million. 

The Western Australian Government is capitalising on the State’s natural competitive advantages and growing participation in the global battery and critical mineral supply chain through the implementation of the Future Battery and Critical Minerals Industries Strategy. 

“Albemarle has been a lead player in the multi-billion-dollar battery and critical minerals processing industry that WA has successfully established in less than a decade. 

“We look forward to seeing Albemarle and the downstream processing industry continue to expand in WA. 

“Guided by our Future Battery and Critical Minerals Industries Strategy, the WA Government is supporting the creation of mineral processing jobs and the development of new skills across the State,” Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said. 

Source: Government of Western Australia – Media Statements; Albemarle 

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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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