More than 150 people attended an official opening ceremony of the new expansion at the Greenbushes Lithium mine on Friday.
Guests were addressed by Talison chairman Peter Robinson and Greenbushes general manager Pat Scallan before undertaking a tour of the facility and processing plants.
The expansion was officially opened by Blackwood-Stirling MLA Terry Redman MLA, who said it represented an important milestone and cemented the operation as one of the region’s largest employers.
The mine is not fly-in-fly-out and the majority of the 200 staff are drawn from the immediate area.
Mr Robinson said lithium would be a major part of the world’s new energy future for mobile electronics such as iPads, electric vehicles, grid stabilisation batteries and solar storage.
‘‘The expansion demonstrates Talison’s commitment to this belief and provides these new industries with confidence that lithium will be available to support the new energy future,’’ he said.
The expansion was completed and commissioned in June 2012, doubling Talison’s production capabilities to around 100,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent a year, equating to nearly two-thirds of global demand.
The expansion will allow Talison to service demand from foreign customers in countries such as Japan, China and Korea, some of whom were present at the opening.
Mr Redman said their presence was representative of the strong trade links between WA and Asian markets.
‘‘China represents WA’s principal export destination — 70 per cent of Australia’s total exports to China come from WA,’’ he said.‘‘What is produced from the Greenbushes mine is used in chemical and technical applications both in Australia and globally and it is pleasing this site is playing such a key role in meeting that demand.’’
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