Lithium bid for Kemerton could create jobs for 500

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times

An American-based company has its sights fixed on Kemerton Industrial Park for a new lithium refinery which could create more than 500 jobs by 2019.

Harvey shire president Tania Jackson has confirmed Albemarle has submitted plans for environmental approval for the site at a State and Federal level.

Cr Jackson said the Kemerton site had been on the company’s radar for some time, but its interest was now confirmed by the environmental submission.

“If the environmental submission is approved, the company’s US board of directors plans to make a decision in the first quarter of next year,” Cr Jackson said.

If the Environmental Protection Authority and the Department of Environment and Energy approve the plans, construction of the Kemerton plant could begin by early 2019.

“This company could bring in a potential 500 construction jobs to build the refinery and a further 300-500 ongoing jobs,” Cr Jackson said.

According to Cr Jackson, these figures could double because the Kemerton site had the strategic and structural potential to accommodate more than one lithium refinery.

Cr Jackson said another operator interested in the site is SQM and Kidman Resources, which had been looking at potential sites in Kwinana, Kalgoorlie and Kemerton.

At this stage only Albemarle had taken interest to the next step.

Depending on the level of assessment made by the EPA, the plans might not be advertised for public approval.

However, Cr Jackson said she planned to let the community have its say.

“If they only need planning approval then key stakeholders would be consulted, which would include the Shire of Harvey,” Cr Jackson said.

Even if the company did not advertise for public comment, Cr Jackson said she would make sure the community had their say.

“We will put forward any concerns on behalf of the community.”

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