Construction of the largest lithium hydroxide plant in Western Australia is well underway, with the earthworks construction contract awarded late last year and an engineering services firm now announced as the builder.
The Albemarle Kemerton Plant will be built by Civmec at the Kemerton strategic industrial area near Bunbury.
BGC Contracting was awarded the project’s earthworks construction contract by Albemarle Group at the end of last year, with works commencing this January.
These works include early construction access and site facilities installation, site clearing and topsoil management, as well as cut to fill and installation of underground piping and electrical cabling.
The project is BGC Contracting’s first venture into WA’s ‘Lithium Valley’ and, according to Project Director John Beattie, will add to its reputation as a premium mining services company.
“This is a great project for BGC Contracting and for the southwest. It gives us a chance to grow our reputation in the region whilst providing new job opportunities for up to 100 local residents,” Mr. Beattie said.
In announcing the win, BGC Contracting CEO Greg Heylen congratulated all who worked on the tender saying the Kemerton Lithium Project would present many new opportunities for the company.
“Working in accordance with the value of Teamwork was pivotal in securing this work. This contract puts us in good stead to compete for future stages of the project, including significant packages for piling, roads and concrete foundations,” Mr. Heylen said.
The lithium plant itself will initially consist of three production trains for a capacity of 60,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide a year (20,000 tonnes for each train), with the capacity to add two more trains to expand to 100,000 tonnes a year by 2025.
The project will provide downstream processing services for spodumene concentrate from Talison Lithium’s Greenbushes mine, in which Albemarle holds a 49 per cent interest (the other 51 per cent belongs to Chinese company Tianqi Lithium).
Civmec Chief Executive Officer Patrick Tallon welcomed the tender win for the the business.
“This two-year project is ideally suited to our operations, fabricating, modularising and site erecting steel work for the key Western Australian development,” he said.
“This project reflects the growing confidence in the WA resource industry, highlighting a bright future for the coming years.”
Construction of the $1.3 billion plant will require around 300 staff and is expected to take place from mid-2019 to March 2021.