With the final State and Federal Government hurdles now cleared, two key Harvey figures have welcomed news that preliminary work has started on Kemerton’s long-awaited lithium refinery.

Last week global lithium and chemicals giant Albemarle announced to the US stock exchange that earthworks had begun after receiving the final tick of approval.

“The Albemarle announcement is good news in the progression of this important project for the Shire of Harvey and Bunbury Geographe Region,” Harvey Shire President Tania Jackson said.

“The economic boost it will bring will be gratefully received by the business community which will have a multiplier effect for the economy and our entire community,” Cr Jackson said.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Albemarle to achieve this high quality development through a risk averse approach to meet our community needs.”

Forrest MHR Nola Marino said the project would provide a significant economic boost to residents and businesses in the South West.

“It’s a great thing for the South West region, particularly in the jobs space,” she said.

“Albemarle will have access to a skilled workforce in the South West and also have training options through South Regional TAFE.

“We’re going to see a greater development of opportunities and secondary processing opportunities from this industry, particularly in my electorate of Forrest.”

After Australia woke to news of the Wall Street announcement, Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham said the proposed lithium processing plant would be a major win for the State’s lithium industry.

“A project of this scale is a major boost for Western Australia’s economy with over 800 jobs expected to be created and significant flow-on effects for local businesses,” Mr Birmingham said.

“We’re the world’s largest lithium producer and there is significant potential to grow investment in infrastructure at various stages within the value chain such as lithium processing.”

Image: Harvey Shire President Tania Jackson, Great Southern Herald.