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Planned Australian-first cathode material factory closer as land secured at Kwinana

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IGO has announced that it has secured land at the Kwinana-Rockingham Strategic Industrial Area from the Western Australian government, where it plans to expand its value-adding activities in the global battery value chain.

The company’s proposed Integrated Battery Material (IBM) Facility would be on approximately 30 hectares of vacant industrial land leased from the WA government, and adjacent to the Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide Refinery which IGO runs in a joint venture with Tianqi Lithium Corporation.

According to a statement on Friday, a final investment decision on the proposed IBM facility – integrating a nickel refinery with a plant for nickel dominant precursor cathode active material (PCAM) – would be made by IGO and Wyloo Metals after engaging a partner with PCAM production experience, delivering a feasibility study in mid-2024, environmental permitting and approvals, broad stakeholder engagement and the achievement of key commercial outcomes.

IGO said it and Wyloo are currently advancing discussions with “a global battery chemical manufacturer” which had expressed “strong interest” in being involved in the project.

IGO’s Acting CEO, Matt Dusci said that Australia is currently playing an important role in supplying critical minerals needed for clean energy, and the best place to expand this would be in mid-stream battery chemical processing.

“We need to continue to expand our participation throughout the battery supply chain, beyond just the mining of key raw minerals, in order to capture a greater share of the value,” he said.

“The Kwinana-Rockingham Strategic Industrial Area is rapidly emerging as a globally significant battery material hub with existing lithium hydroxide production, established infrastructure and a skilled residential workforce. 

“I would like to acknowledge the support of the Western Australian State Government as we work together with a combined ambition of continued growth of the local battery chemical industry.”

Picture: IGO’s Flying Fox nickel mine (credit IGO)

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