Fire at WA lithium mine sees production suspended


A fire broke out in the Wodgina lithium mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region on November 24, but was brought under control by fire crews that same day. Wodgina is jointly owned by US giant Albermarle, and billionaire Chris Ellison’s company Mineral Resources, which operates the mine as part of the joint venture agreement.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated and while production remains suspended, the companies do not expect shipping to be impacted by the fire.

“The fire started at approximately 5.30pm and had been brought under control by the Wodgina Emergency Response Team by 7.30pm,” a spokesman for Mineral Resources told the Australian Financial Review. “There were no injuries and the cause of the incident remains under investigation.”

Wodgina is among the world’s largest known hard rock lithium deposits and the mine’s capacity was increased in 2022 when lithium prices skyrocketed. The mine is set to produce 250,000 tonnes of lithium spodumene concentrate this year, with that figure growing to 375,000 tonnes in 2024.

Lithium prices surged last year amid perceived shortages, but collapsed recently following an oversupply.

pv magazine’s upcoming December edition features an in-depth look at Australia’s battery mineral segment, and some of the difficulties it is faces due to commodity pricing collapses and other more structural issues.

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