Western Australia is one of the most diverse resource regions in the world, with more than 50 mineral and petroleum products being produced in commercial quantities. The State has been recognised by Canada’s Fraser Institute as the world’s leading mining investment destination.
Western Australia leads Australia in minerals and petroleum output and produces a significant proportion of the world’s trade in several key commodities including iron ore, liquefied natural gas, gold, diamonds, alumina, lithium and nickel. Minerals and petroleum exports for the State were $108bn in 2016-17, with minerals accounting for over $88bn.
The WA Government and industry have invested heavily over the last decade to develop an extensive infrastructure network including ports, industrial land, rail and transport links to support industry growth. Critical infrastructure links have helped improve supply chain efficiencies and drive lower productivity across key commodities, particularly iron ore.
WA's capital city, Perth, is home to a world-leading Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) industry and the largest concentration of resources and METS companies in Australia. Perth is strategically positioned in the same time zone as much of Asia and in close proximity to key growth economies in Asia and WA's major export markets, China and Japan in particular.
Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS)
Western Australia accounts for more than 25% of the A$90 billion Australian mining equipment and technology support services industry. Growth opportunities exist for technology development and the creation of new processes, services and products. For more information about the METS industry read the CSIRO Executive Summary here.
Battery Metals in Western Australia
The global battery market has entered a period of extremely rapid growth on the back of an increased demand for mobile phones, electric vehicles and large-scale residential power storage in recent years.
Western Australia has deposits of following key metals used to produce batteries: lithium, graphite, cobalt, manganese, vanadium and nickel. As one of the world’s leading mining provinces, and producing or possessing significant reserves of all core battery materials, WA presents a compelling investment opportunity. Download a map of the battery metals here.
Most of Australia’s economic demonstrated resources of lithium occur within hard rock pegmatite deposits in WA. The state is the world’s largest lithium producer, and significant resources of spodumene mean that it is likely to remain a major producer over the longer term.
Operating lithium projects in Western Australia:
• Greenbushes: this project accounts for about 30 per cent of global lithium production. Operated by Talison Lithium (JV between Tianqi Lithium Corporation of China and Albemarle Corporation of USA).
• Mt Cattlin: operated by Galaxy Resources.
• Mt Marion: operated by Reed Industrial Minerals (partnership between Neometals Ltd, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Company of China and Mineral Resources).
• Wodgina: operated by Mineral Resources.
• Bald Hill: operated by Tawana Resources and Alliance Mineral Assets.
Lithium projects at an advanced stage in Western Australia:
• Pilgangoora: Altura Mining
• Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalium: Pilbara Minerals
• Earl Grey: Kidman Resources, SQM
• Mt Edwards: Neometals
In addition to mining and exploration, there is significant investment currently happening in downstream processing in the State. Here are a few developments happening in 2018:
• Tianqi Lithium is building Western Australia’s first lithium hydroxide plant in Kwinana in WA; the facility will be the largest lithium hydroxide plant in the world.
• Tianqi Lithium is also looking to establish its global research and development headquarters in Western Australia.
• Albemarle, Tianqi’s JV partner, independently plans to build a lithium hydroxide plant in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area in WA
• The Neometals, Mineral Resources and Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium JV, operating the Mt Marion project, have proposed a $185 million lithium hydroxide plant in Kalgoorlie in WA
• Kidman Resources and SQM are about to make an investment decision on lithium carbonate and hydroxide refinery in Western Australia
Significant opportunities for international investors in Western Australia
There are over 80 companies operating or exploring for ‘battery metals’ in Western Australia. These include the world’s biggest Lithium players Tianqi Lithium of China, Albemarle Corporation of USA, and SQM of Chile.
Western Australia represents a very broad business development opportunity location where the mining industry, investors and UK and European battery sector corporates can look to source battery minerals feedstock, and also to undertake value-add commercialisation along the battery development chain. There are also opportunities for Europe to invest or collaborate with companies in Western Australia
For more information please contact Trade and Investment Manager Jarrod Ferguson on email@example.com