Lithium boom for Western Australia


Curtin University's Professor of Sustainability, Peter Newman is predicting a Western Australian Lithium Valley that has strains of Silicon Valley in the United States which is where computers and the IT revolution started. 

In an interview with ABC's Science Show on 7 July 2018, Peter Newman said "Silicon Vally came from university partnerships in that area of San Francisco and continues to grow based on that. The (Lithium) partnerships are being established here. We have very good researchers and very high quality production systems. So the silicon side of it is the smarts. We are using all of that smarts to create very high quality mineral processing.

"Now, we can do that better than anywhere in the world, we are good at doing smart mining and we're taking it now through the high value adding processes. We've estimated 100,000 jobs, $50 billion a year added to the economy. So boom times in Western Australia come and go, this is one that's coming, and quite rapidly, because the world really needs this. The new energy industries are the next major growth."

"The private sector are ready to invest in these things because they want to join this market. The motor vehicle manufacturers are saying we need high-quality batteries of this kind of standard, please produce them. Well, we are able to do that and others aren't. So we are getting to that stage. But we want to then add on the battery making as well. Well, we've got a few people who make batteries here, they need to grow very big. Tesla has certainly come here and been interested and they were very impressive in talking to the Premier about this and seeing that this is a big opportunity."

The world’s biggest lithium deposit is in Western Australia. There are now 8 lithium mines in the state. Lithium batteries are used by hybrid and electric cars, with recent growth of 40% in just one year.  Peter Newman describes the potential lithium holds for jobs and the economy.

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