The Western Australian Government will establish a taskforce to capitalise on the state’s potential to produce and process lithium and other energy materials.

Western Australia is the world’s leading producer of lithium and is uniquely placed to capitalise on the rising growth of battery use and technologies.

There is enormous potential to increase downstream processing of lithium and other energy materials in WA, creating long-term job opportunities for Western Australians.

The taskforce will oversee development of a Lithium and Energy Materials Strategy to build on WA’s competitive advantages, and to develop a world-leading energy materials industry that maximises benefits to Western Australia.

It will be chaired by the Minister for Mines and Petroleum and will consist of senior government representatives. The taskforce will engage with key companies and will be informed by an industry stakeholder reference group.

It is expected the taskforce will present recommendations to the State Government by the end of 2018.

WA Premier, Mark McGowan, said the availability of lithium and other energy materials in Western Australia creates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the state.

“The taskforce will do the work, in consultation with industry, to ensure our state is front and centre in production of battery technologies, and will also work to make sure these materials can be processed here in WA to maximise local jobs.”

Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston, said lithium-ion batteries are among the most popular batteries in use today.

“Western Australia possesses all the elements required to produce these batteries such as lithium, nickel, graphite and cobalt, meaning we are in the box seat to capitalise on the growth of this industry,” Mr Johnston said.

“This isn’t just about extracting resources from the ground. It’s also about processing them here in WA to create jobs for Western Australians.

“We are determined to make the most of the opportunity, and the taskforce will set out a clear plan to establish Western Australia as a world leader in this industry.”

As part of the State Budget, the Western Australian Government announced $5.5 million in provisional funding to the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA), to support development and manufacturing of technology metals and renewable energy sources.

MRIWA will invest the funds, if successful, in its bid to establish a New Energy Industry Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) in WA.

The New Energy Industry CRC’s objective will be to create value, through industry-led research, and drive global demand for local products, services and solutions.

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