By Bayside Personnel
Oct 18, 2018
Australia is set to be home to Lithium Valley
The global lithium market is emerging at a rapid rate with the potential to be worth hundreds of billions dollars in future years. Many believe that lithium will play a key role in emerging clean energy technology like electric vehicles. Australian exports of spodumene ore, which is the precursor to lithium, are expected to grow from $780 million to $1.1 billion by 2020, accounting for more than 80% of the world’s hard rock lithium supply.
Lithium is driving the electric vehicle boom
Demand for lithium is being driven by demand for lithium-ion batteries. While consumer electronics have used lithium-ion batteries for years, their usage is now taking off thanks to the growth in electric vehicles and large battery storage units. As eco-friendly vehicles have become more popular, they’ve also helped quadruple the price of lithium in the past four years.
While the largest opportunities currently lie in the mining and construction industries, there is potential for Australia to vertically integrate its investments in lithium by also manufacturing high-grade battery materials. This will require both manufacturing and technical skills as well as significant investment and has the potential to add significant value to the Australian economy. The first step is underway, with a processing plant that crushes and processes rocks into spodumene concentrate already in operation.
Lithium Australia is one company that has been developing a superior processing technology that extracts lithium from silicate. This technology has the potential to reduce capital and operating costs in the processing of lithium while producing a higher quality product. Such technology provides the opportunity for Australia to not only mine the rocks but also expand its manufacturing base, vertically integrating the lithium industry here.
The new mining boom boosts demand in multiple sectors
Australia is well-placed to take advantage of this growing industry thanks to its experience in managing mining operations, experienced skill base and geology.
There are already several new operations underway, with five lithium hydroxide refineries under construction or planned in WA alone. Just four years ago 400 people were employed in lithium mines in WA, now there are over 2,600 people employed.
Whether Western Australia will become the Lithium Valley of the world or not is yet to be seen, but there are significant opportunities for businesses, employers and those with the right skills to benefit today and into the future. It’s estimated that the lithium industry could generate over 100,000 new jobs in Western Australia by 2025. Potential job opportunities abound for those involved in mining, technical production, manufacturing and the construction of industrial and residential infrastructure.
Take advantage of these opportunities by partnering with an agency that understands your business’ needs.