Lithium: Tianqi approves construction of hydroxide plant at Kwinana in Western Australia

Roskill view: Although having hinted at plans back in April for a new large-scale lithium hydroxide plant, Tianqi confirmed earlier press reports last week on the approval of its construction at Kwinana Industrial Area, 25km south of Perth, WA. The state-of-the-art 24,000tpy plant will be the largest of its type globally and process spodumene concentrate from Tianqi’s Greenbushes mine, also located in WA and which may be expanded in the future. The Kwinana plant will join Tianqi’s other two spodumene conversion sites – Shehong and Zhangjiagang (purchased from Galaxy in 2015)—in China, together giving Tianqi a total capacity of around 50,000tpy LCE.

Tianqi’s plan comes only weeks after FMC announced it would build additional hydroxide capacity in China and Albemarle announced it was acquiring the hydroxide producer Jiangli’s plants, also in China. Surging demand for electric vehicles, which are increasingly using high-nickel cathodes using lithium hydroxide as a feedstock, is driving large investments in this lithium derivative.

Roskill will be exhibiting at The Battery Show in Detroit this week (619) and will be presenting at Avicenne’s Batteries 2016 event in Nice on 26-28th September.

For more information on Roskill’s lithium research, contact Robert Baylis: robert@roskill.com or follow @robertbaylis on Twitter.