Lithium Mining Delivers BIG for WA, Increased Spodumene Production

The overall mining industry in WA boasted a direct employment figure of around 112,000 for the last financial year, with an industry sales increase of $10 billion compared to the previous year.

According to The West’s Daniel Newell, West Australia’s commodities, namely gold, LNG, lithium, and iron ore, all reached record production levels, with a whopping $114.9 billion worth of sales contributing to the second-best financial year on record.

Lithium continues to see increased demand as global markets increase their focus on producing electric-powered variations of mining equipment, plant, cars, and more.

The origin of the lithium battery dates back to 1970 when it was first conceived by British chemist Michael Stanley Whittingham, who later won a Nobel Prize for the breakthrough.

From the old Nokia brick phones to the newest Tesla cars, lithium batteries have seen a dramatic jump in consumer demand with more and more products utilising lithium batteries than ever before.

WA is a big producer of spodumene rocks, a key source of lithium, which is exported to Asia and turned into batteries.

Spodumene rocks are the refined end-product of lithium mining in WA, where the rocks are a pyroxene mineral composed of lithium aluminum inosilicate.

[We are] refining the product into a concentrate that we can sell,” said a lithium engineer from Galaxy.

Greenbushes, 80km east of Busselton, is home to the largest lithium mine in the world, producing a 30% share of global supply.

Just two years ago the State’s only lithium mine was Greenbushes, where WA now boasts several operational lithium mines with more planned for development over the next decade.

"If the State Government wants to really get behind it, it can really make WA a hub for lithium products," said Mark Calderwood, CEO of Tawana Resources, at the Bald Hill Lithium Mine.

"The take-up of lithium demand will take the next 10 years, but I think the companies will match that."

The industry has delivered remarkable employment growth throughout Western Australia while heavily bolstering the State’s economy.

Source: ABC News & The West