Wind-back won’t affect job market
News of Albemarle’s decision to scale back expansion at the company’s Kemerton-based lithium refinery is unlikely to affect the immediate job market, according to a company spokesman.
Last week Albemarle’s board of directors announced a wind-back of investment in the Kemerton lithium plant, reducing projected initial output from 75,000 tonnes per annum to 50,000tpa.
The board also announced it would suspend expansion plans for stages three, four and five of the plant.
An Albemarle spokesman confirmed the company was still hiring for stage one of the plant.
“The first 50tpa lithium hydroxide conversion capacity at Kemerton will be commissioned in stages, starting in the first half of 2021,” he said.
“Construction and hiring of employees for the site continues.”
In an investor report, Albemarle chief executive Luke Kissam said changes to the joint venture allowed Albemarle to reduce immediate capital spending and gave the company options to expand in the future.
“The recently announced amendments to our transaction with Mineral Resources Limited and our decision to delay indefinitely certain lithium expansion projects will allow us to reduce capital expenditures significantly while still meeting the commitments we have made to our customers,” he said.
Harvey shire president Tania Jackson said the announcement was not surprising following the renegotiation of the terms of the company’s existing joint venture agreement. “Dealing with commodity prices, obviously there are so many players making investment decisions which can then affect a company’s projected outcomes,” she said.
“From my understanding, this announcement is an adjustment for the interest in that area.”
Cr Jackson said she did not think this would affect immediate job prospects being created. “We haven’t seen a scaling back of their original construction plans, we are only seeing a scaling back of their expansion plans,” she said.
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