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US major Albemarle said it was looking at expansion options in Australia, with the closest at hand being expanded production at its Kemerton lithium hydroxide plant in Western Australia.

Speaking at the first day of Paydirt’s Battery Minerals conference, Albemarle country manager and VP for external affairs Beverly East the first and second trains at Kemerton have completed construction and was now moving into the commissioning and operations stage.

“We are now getting ready to take a final investment decision on two more trains later this year. Trains three and four at Kemerton will add another 50 000 t/y of lithium hydroxide capacity at the plant. And I think it’s probably a secret that I’m allowed to tell you; we are already starting to talk about how to fit train five in and were we would build it sometime down the future path,” said East.

In addition to the potential expansion at Kemerton, East said Albemarle was also searching for more conversion opportunities in both Australia and greater Asia Pacific region.

Albemarle is in joint venture (JV) with ASX-listed Mineral Resources (MinRes) at the Kemerton project, and recently amended the JV agreement to increase its interest in the first two conversion trains at the Kemerton processing plant from 60% to 85%, and to operate Kemerton trains 1 and 2 on behalf of the JV.