Australia once again leads the race in the global battery technology revolution, as one of the world's top lithium producing countries, with recent news that it will meet China's latest demand.
Construction of a $400 million plant is expected to start next month and be completed towards the end of 2018 with a capacity to produce 24,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year. The state government is predicting that over 600 new jobs will be created, during the two-year construction phase, with more than 115 jobs once the project is fully operational.
Australian mines delivered 13,400 metric tons of lithium and has the world's largest single lithium reserve, Greenbushes, which is owned and operated by Talison Lithium. The mine has been operational for over 25 years and provides easy access to the Asian electronics market, whose companies are the world's top lithium consumers.
Top 5 lithium producers in 2015
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS)
- Australia mine production: 13,400 metric tons
- Chile mine production: 12,900 metric tons
- Argentina mine production: 3,800 metric tons
- China mine production: 2,200 metric tons
- Zimbabwe mine production: 900 metric tons
The use of lithium is on the increase due to the global uptake of rechargeable batteries, renewable energy storage and the roll out of electric vehicles. The current need for lithium in China, has meant that the new lithium hydroxide plant is to be built by Sichuan Tianqi Lithium Industries in Kwinana, Western Australia.
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The Government of Western Australia. (2016). Retrieved 9 September, 2016 from
USGS. (2016). Retrieved 9 September, 2016 from http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/lithium/