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$230 million finance to speed lithium battery supply project

Manufacturing News

The federal government is has announced major backing for the Kathleen Valley Lithium Project in Western Australia which will produce lithium concentrate from later this year.

It is expected to create around 900 jobs during construction and around 450 ongoing operational jobs.

With $110 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and $120 million from Export Finance Australia (EFA), the investment will help battery minerals producer Liontown Resources complete its Kathleen Valley Lithium Project (pictured), 680 kilometres north-east of Perth.

South Korean-based LG Energy Solution (LGES), and car manufacturers Tesla and Ford, are foundation customers for a planned 500ktpa of spodumene concentrate which will be produced from 2024. By year six the project will expand to produce 700ktpa of concentrate.

No firm downstream processing opportunities nor links to Australia’s nascent lithium production chains were announced.

However according to the federal government: “The company aims to create a pathway to downstream processing, which would allow Australia to capture a greater proportion of the lithium value chain.”

The CEFC and EFA investments are part of a $550 million financing package from a group of Australian and international financial institutions.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said: “Nine out of the ten critical minerals necessary for lithium batteries can be found here in Australia, which gives us a massive jobs and economic opportunity in the net zero transformation.

“Making lithium a major export earner puts Australia in the value chain of the world’s automotive and renewable energy industries.”

According to Liontown’s latest update on January 31, the project was 72 percent complete and underground mining to reach higher grade ores has begun.

Picture: Liontown Resources

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