First battery grade lithium hydroxide produced in Australia by Tianqi and Igo

Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia (TLEA) has announced first production of battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) from the Kwinana plant in Western Australia.

The milestone, achieved by TLEA – a joint venture between China’s Tianqi Lithium (51%) and Australia’s Igo Ltd (49%), resembles the first time LHM has been produced in Australia in commercial quantities.

TLEA owns the first lithium hydroxide plant in Australia and the largest in the world to be built and operated outside of China.

Earlier this week, the onsite laboratory at Kwinana confirmed that battery grade specification was met for 10 tonnes of lithium hydroxide, produced consistently over several days. Samples have been sent for independent verification.

“We are immensely proud to demonstrate that Australia can value add to its minerals onshore as it enhances its reputation as a critical contributor to the production of batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage, which are absolutely vital for the decarbonisation of the world’s economy,” said TLEA’s COO Raj Surendran.

“Today’s milestone proves Australia has the capability and expertise to transition from a ‘dig it and ship it’ minerals supplier to a downstream supplier of value-added product,” Surendran said.

The next step in the plant’s ramp-up process is customer qualification, which will be completed over the next four to eight months. The first train at Kwinana will have a nameplate capacity of 24,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide per annum.