Government support for progressing battery manufacture in WA

  • Work commences on $18.4 million Cathode Precursor Production pilot plant in Perth
  • Research initiatives being used to demonstrate capability in Western Australia 
  • The McGowan Government, through the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, has invested $900,000 in the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) Cathode Precursor Production pilot plant project led by Curtin University.

    The pilot aims to demonstrate Australia’s capability to produce cost-effective, high-quality nickel, cobalt and manganese for producing precursor cathode active materials (PCAM).

    PCAM is a form of advanced chemical manufacturing and is a key material used in lithium-ion batteries to power electric vehicles.

    Commissioning of the plant is expected to begin in early 2022, followed by an 18-month trial.

    The FBICRC and its partners will invest $9.2 million in cash and $9.2 million in-kind to develop the pilot plant.

    Western Australia’s downstream battery minerals processing capabilities continue to grow, with BHP Nickel West opening Australia’s first nickel sulphate plant at the company’s Kwinana refinery earlier this month.

    Combined with the lithium hydroxide plants under construction in WA, this demonstrates the State’s ability to attract investment and continue moving along the battery value chain.

    As stated by Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:

    “Western Australia already exports all the minerals needed to make a battery but now we have the exciting opportunity to move into the next step of manufacturing these materials.

    “The pilot boosts the McGowan Government’s efforts to attract global investment in PCAM manufacturing in Western Australia.

    “Through the WA Recovery Plan, we have committed $13.2 million to facilitate global investment in precursor cathode manufacturing in Western Australia.

    “Diversifying our economy and increasing our activity in mineral processing and advanced manufacturing are key objectives of the McGowan Government’s Future Battery Industry Strategy.”

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