Lithium: The Battery Mineral Rush
Western Australia’s resources continue to create long term prosperity for the State with Lithium being the new commodity on the block.
While iron ore has been a boon to the state for several decades, the battery mineral is setting up Western Australia to be the leading provider of Lithium in the world.
Lithium has been widely used for batteries for consumer electronics such as laptops and mobile phones. Now, advances in technology, such as electric vehicles and large grid battery storage, will see demand grow as adoption increases.
Australia currently contributes around half of the world’s lithium and the thirst for the metal will only continue to increase. According to the Resources and Energy Quarterly report, global trade in lithium batteries will soar from $165 billion to $2 trillion by 2025. A hefty slice of this demand will come from electric vehicles, which is reported to see sales rise from $2 million to $50 million by 2030.
Near on $3-billion has been committed to the development of lithium mines with five under construction in Western Australia.
With several mines vying for a share of lithium pie, the key projects driving this resources bonanza include:
- Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine is located around 250km southwest of Perth and is touted as the world’s largest known single lithium reserve. As Australia’s first lithium mine established more than two decades ago, Greenbushes is now set to triple production once its expansion program is completed in the coming months.
- Mineral Resources with their established reputation in iron ore have ventured into lithium by way of the Mt Marion Project located 40km southwest of Kalgoorlie.
- Pilbara Minerals Pilgangoora Project is located in Western Australia’s Pilbara region south of Port Hedland and is regarded as one of the biggest new lithium ore deposits in the world.
- Also located in the Pilbara, Altura Mining owns and operates the Pilgangoora Project (next door to Pilbara Minerals) which commenced production in 2018, and has planning underway for stage 2 expansion.
- Galaxy Resources’ Mt Cattlin mine is another Western Australian lithium stalwart. Located at Ravensthorpe approximately 500km southeast of Perth, the mine was first established in 2009 and re-commenced production in 2016.
In addition, Tianqi Lithium is constructing the world’s largest lithium hydroxide processing plant in Kwinana in Perth’s south which it says will deliver the highest quality battery grade lithium hydroxide.
Managing Director of Titan Recruitment, Craig Van Heurck said, “this significant investment in lithium mining and processing has created several employment opportunities in Western Australia. As construction goes through its varying stages the number of jobs created will increase exponentially.”
“The Kwinana hydroxide processing plant is the first wet plant in the state and has created new and varied processes. As other companies such as Albermarle, SQM and FMC get their projects into development, we will see interesting and challenging project work particularly in the area of mechanical and process engineering design. In fact, all the design type roles will be in high demand,” Van Heurck said.
For more information on mining job opportunities contact our Resources & Energy team.