OREANDA-NEWS. March 29, 2018. Western Australia is expected to increase its lithium concentrate output to 2.5mn t/yr by 2019-20, Bill Johnston, the state's minister for mines and petroleum said.

Lithium direct shipping ore and lithium concentrate output rose to 850,000t in 2016-17 from 350,000t in the first year of production in 2013. A$2.2bn ($1.7bn) worth of downstream lithium projects are being developed or considered in Western Australia.

China's Tianqi Lithium is to expand its processing facility at Kwinana near Perth while US-based Albermarle is mulling a value-added project further down the south coast of Western Australia.

Joint venture partners Kidman Resources and Chile's Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM) will soon announce the location for a lithium hydroxide site to add value to lithium produced at their Earl Grey mine.

Other spodumene producers are considering downstream conversion investments.