Tianqi Lithium Australia, a subsidiary of China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp, has started building a state-of-the-art spodumene converter that will produce battery grade lithium hydroxide in Kwinana, Western Australia.
Initial production is expected by mid-2019 with first sales before the end of 2019, according to a new report by Wood Mackenzie, a research and consultancy business for the global energy, chemicals, metals and mining industries.
Once in full production, Kwinana will be the largest lithium hydroxide producing operation and the biggest converter in the world, James Whiteside, a London-based managing consultant at Wood Mackenzie and author of the report, says in an interview.
The plant will use high-grade lithium concentrate feedstock sourced from Greenbushes, the hard-rock lithium mine in southwestern Australia that Tianqi acquired in 2013-2014 and joint-ventured with Albemarle Corp. (NYSE: ALB), the mine operator.
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