$230 million to turbocharge lithium battery supply chain

Joint media release with Minister for Climate Change and Energy the Hon Chris Bowen MP.

The Albanese Government is helping secure Australia and the world’s renewable energy supply chains by backing the Kathleen Valley Lithium Project in Western Australia.

It is expected to create around 900 jobs during construction and around 450 ongoing operational jobs. 

With $110 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and $120 million from Export Finance Australia (EFA), the government’s investment will help battery minerals producer Liontown Resources secure the final stages of construction of the company’s Kathleen Valley Lithium Project.

The CEFC and EFA investments are part of a $550 million financing package from a group of Australian and international financial institutions.

Located north of Kalgoorlie in WA’s Eastern Goldfields, the project could produce about 500 kt of spodumene concentrate each year, a critical raw material needed to make batteries, making it one of Australia’s largest lithium mines.

It will also be one of the world’s lowest emissions hard rock lithium producers, powered by at least 60% renewable energy. 

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the $230 million Australian Government investment would strengthen Australia’s position along the global battery supply chain.

“Nine out of the ten critical minerals necessary for lithium batteries can be found here in Australia, which gives us a massive jobs and economic opportunity in the net zero transformation,” Minister Bowen said. 

“Few countries have as much to gain from the world’s shift to electric vehicles and the huge lift in battery storage as Australia. Making lithium a major export earner puts Australia in the value chain of the world’s automotive and renewable energy industries.

“Kathleen Valley’s low-carbon approach will be a premium product around the globe, as the world increasingly wants critical minerals with a low-carbon footprint.”

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King said the project was another example of how the resources industry was leading the shift to a low carbon economy, with support from the Federal Government.

“The opening up of the Goldfields in the 1800s transformed Western Australia’s economy, but projects like this show how the Goldfields are still powering the nation.

“To meet our net zero targets we will need more mining to build the solar panels, batteries and wind farms we need to reduce emissions.

“Projects like this show how the Government is supporting the resources industry to power our state, the nation and the region.” 

Liontown Resources has already secured substantial offtake agreements with Tesla, the Ford Motor Company and more. The company aims to create a pathway to downstream processing, which would allow Australia to capture a greater proportion of the lithium value chain.