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Western Australia in response to the 2017 sales of spodumene, the primary lithium bearing mineral produced in WA soaring 166% to reach A$780-million announced a taskforce to harness the potential for lithium and other energy materials.

Australia Lithium Projects

The taskforce will oversee the development of a lithium and energy materials strategy looking for a competitive edge. Rising global demand for lithium batteries for storage and electric vehicles affords Australia to benefit from the potential of the region’s large deposits of lithium and energy materials. The taskforce will be chaired by the WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the taskforce will consist of government representatives.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said, “The availability of lithium and other energy materials in WA creates an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our state. My government is committed to the development of this industry to boost our economy and create long-term jobs for Western Australians."

“The taskforce will do the work, in consultation with industry, to ensure our state is front and centre in production of battery technologies, and will also work to make sure these materials can be processed here in WA to maximise local jobs.” McGowan added

WA Lithium, a joint venture between Kidman Resources and Chilean-based producer SQM has a deal in place to supply U.S. electric car maker Tesla with lithium hydroxide from a refinery to be built in Kwinana, WA. The partnership on May 4 announced it had secured rights from LandCorp to build on the 76-hectare Kwinana industrial area site, expected to begin operations in 2021 and create 400 construction jobs and 150 ongoing jobs. The world's largest processing plant is being built by Chinese lithium producer Tianqi for $700 million not far away. The area has been nicknamed “Lithium Valley” has positioned WA to take advantage of a growing market for electric cars and house batteries.

The taskforce will interact with mining firms and is scheduled to submit recommendations to the state government within six months. In its budget, the WA Government allocated A$5.5m ($4.15m) in funding to the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA), to support the development and manufacturing of technology metals and renewable energy sources.

Sales of spodumene, the primary lithium bearing mineral produced in WA rose 166% to reach A$780-million in 2017. This was primarily due to the near doubling of spodumene sold as two new mines (Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co’s Mt Marion project and Mineral Resources’ Wodgina project) came online and a third (Galaxy Resources’ Mt Cattlin project) reached full production. Average prices also continued to improve in line with the average global received price for lithium carbonate, which grew by 33 per cent year-on-year.

Source: TradersCommunity, WA government

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