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South West jobs focus for Albemarle

Stuart McGuckinHarvey-Waroona Reporter
WA Premier Mark McGowan and Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke take part in the sod-turning ceremony to officially mark the start construction of Albemarle's lithium processing plant at Kemerton.
Camera IconWA Premier Mark McGowan and Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke take part in the sod-turning ceremony to officially mark the start construction of Albemarle's lithium processing plant at Kemerton. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

Albemarle has committed to ensuring as many of the 500 jobs as possible created at its Kemerton lithium processing plant will be filled by South West residents.

Vice-president of lithium business David Klanecky said he wanted people working on the site that lived close by.

“It’s much easier to retain people when they have a stable job,” he said.

“The investment speaks for itself in terms of its size and we design our plants to last 30 or 50 years – we want to be here for a while.”

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His comments were made at a sod-turning ceremony on Thursday to mark the official start of construction of the facility set to cost more than $1 billion.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, US Ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse and WA Premier Mark McGowan were among the many high profile attendees at the event.

Mr Klanecky said there were no concerns about a skills shortage in the South West to fill the roles once the plant was operating at capacity.

“We’ve been working with the Government about how we can continue to train and develop that,” he said.

“We have a couple of years before the site is at full capacity.

“Our plan now is to work with the local community on how we can train that workforce and how we can get them trained up for a chemical processing operation.

“We’re pretty confident we’ll be able to build a workforce here.”

Mr Birmingham said the Federal Government had played a key role in terms of attracting global investment.

“We have investment advisers who work hard globally to convince that it is worth investing in Australia,” he said.

“They also work to convince them of the merits of not just taking raw minerals from a State like WA, but also invest in the process of value adding to create more jobs in WA.”

Mr McGowan said he had talked to the company about making sure people from the region directly benefited as employees.

“I’ve said to the company that we’d love to see people from Bunbury, Australind, Harvey and Collie trained up to have those opportunities,” he said.

“We want to make sure Collie has a strong future and we’re working with the company on whatever training needs to be done for people up there and whatever transport improvements need to be made for Collie people to access employment here.”

Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke said the commitment to employing people from the region was welcome.

“I’m proud of all the work the Government has done to put WA at the heart of the future of energy,” she said. “It’s not just about setting the State up for a cleaner energy future; it’s about making sure that we create the jobs we need in the field.”

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