Standing in a paddock at the back of an industrial area near Newcastle, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared the site would soon be the first advanced manufacturing facility of lithium-ion batteries in Australia.
- Energy Renaissance will build a $70 million battery manufacturing plant at Tomago
- The number of jobs created is lower than initial estimates due to increased use of automation
- The lithium-ion batteries will be specifically designed for use in hot climates
“In the Hunter, they’re building the future on this site, with lithium-ion batteries,” he said.
Energy Renaissance plans to start constructing the $70 million battery plant at Tomago within weeks and it should be operational by October.
Although plans unveiled last year suggested the plant would require a workforce of 1,200, a greater use of automation means the total jobs will be closer to 100.
Batteries set to power homes, industry and public transport
Energy Renaissance managing director Mark Chilcote said the batteries would be specially designed to operate in hot climates.
“We’re going to start manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in a temporary facility, also in Tomago, we’ll start that in July,” he said.
“Their purpose will be static storage, so industrial/commercial, houses and heavy vehicles, so buses, trains, trams.
“Initially we import the materials into Australia, so we’re very focused on Australian raw materials.
“Australia is the only country in the world that has 100 per cent of mined raw materials here.
“Unfortunately at this point we don’t value-add them to battery-grade material.
“So we’re very interested in working with both industry and government in proving up that supply chain and being a catalyst for that supply chain.”
Resources roadmap launch
The Prime Minister used the visit to launch his government’s new 10-year roadmap outlining how businesses can capitalise on Australia’s access to resources and critical minerals.
Mr Morrison said he was excited to see the battery plant on track.
“It is a sovereign and strategic priority for Australia to ensure we are hardwired into this supply chain around the world and a supply chain that Australia and our partners can rely on.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack made a visit to Denman in the Upper Hunter to announce funding for road safety upgrades.
$400 million will be spent on shoulder sealing, rumble strips and median upgrades.
Of that, $6.7 million will go towards roads around Ogilvies Hill, including the Golden Highway.
“We’ve made sure that the money is available now and projects have already started and that money has to be used within a six-month timeframe,” Mr McCormack said.