New lithium mine set to boost WA's credentials as battery hub

New lithium project to boost Western Australia’s battery and critical mineral credentials
Date: Friday, 08 March 2024
  • Project to produce enough lithium hydroxide to power one million electric vehicles
  • More than 1,000 jobs created during construction with 350 jobs during operations
  • $60 million road upgrade investment by the WA Government to enable new project

The Cook Government has congratulated joint venture partners Covalent Lithium, Wesfarmers and Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) on the successful opening of the Mt Holland lithium mine and concentrator project.

Premier Roger Cook, Treasurer Rita Saffioti and Mines and Petroleum Minister David Michael were on site to celebrate the occasion on the Kalamaia Kalarku Kaprun people's Country of the Marlinyu and Ghoorlie trees.

The Mt Holland lithium project consists of an open-cut mine and concentrator, located 110km southeast of Southern Cross in the Wheatbelt region, and a refinery currently being constructed in the Kwinana Industrial Area.

The Cook Government has played a key role in enabling this project by working with the joint venture partners to fund and deliver the Moorine Rock to Mt Holland road. This $60 million commitment has improved road safety and freight efficiency, supporting the future growth of the mine.

With an expected cost of $2.6 billion, the project is supporting 1,000 jobs during construction and 350 jobs during operations.

Mt Holland will produce 380,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate per year, which will be refined into 50,000 tonnes of battery-quality lithium hydroxide. This is enough to power around one million electric vehicles.

The Kwinana refinery is expected to deliver its first lithium hydroxide in early 2025.

Mt Holland mined its first ore in December 2022, and began crushing in May 2023. The concentrator was successfully commissioned in the second half of 2023 and is now in the ramp-up phase.

Comments attributed to Premier Roger Cook:

"Congratulations to Covalent Lithium, Wesfarmers and SQM on the opening of their impressive Mt Holland mine and soon-to-be-completed refinery in Kwinana.

"This multi-billion-dollar investment in Western Australia will support hundreds of jobs and deliver a significant boost to our value-added industry.

"WA is powering the global shift to net zero, and today's opening is a vote of confidence in the long-term future of our battery and critical minerals industries – diversifying our economy and creating local jobs for the future."

Comments attributed to Treasurer Rita Saffioti:

"Our Government continues to back projects that create local jobs, strengthen our economy and set up Western Australia's long-term future.

"Our $60 million commitment to support the Moorine Rock to Mt Holland road upgrades has been essential to getting this project off the ground. Last year when the Australian Government withdrew their funding, we stepped up to fill the gap they had left and make sure the project was delivered.

"WA has hit a number of milestones as we progress towards becoming a global battery materials manufacturing hub, and this investment in lithium hydroxide will further support these earlier successes.

"It's great to see the refinery set up in the Kwinana Industrial Area, which has excellent road, rail, port and energy connections."

Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister David Michael:

"It's great to be here in the Goldfields to celebrate this significant occasion.

"WA remains a globally significant battery and critical minerals processing hub and we are working hard to do all we can to further capitalise on this incredible opportunity.

"Lithium became WA's second most valuable mineral in 2022–23, with sales of $20 billion and royalties of $930 million.

"This impressive increase in production has seen WA consolidate its position as the largest global producer of lithium, a rank we have held since passing Chile in 2012."

Media contact: Mark Scott 0437 170 385 or 6552 5000