At first glance, Talison's lithium mineral concentrate looks like sand, just like what you'd find on the most pristine beaches around the globe. But don’t let this soft alkali metal fool you—despite being the lightest metal, lithium is also a mighty element that’s powering our world toward a more sustainable future.
"Lithium plays a big part in people's lives and is used in everything from small electronic devices and power tools to mobile phones and electric vehicles," said Luke Smith, chief financial officer at Talison Lithium, the world's leading producer of hard rock lithium mineral (spodumene) concentrate. "With the global transition to clean energy, there’s a high demand for electric cars, and the demand for lithium has followed suit."
Talison Lithium has responded. Located in Western Australia, the company currently produces approximately 20% of the world's lithium. Over the past few years, Talison Lithium has experienced substantial growth, with its workforce expanding from slightly over 400 workers in 2018 to more than 800 employees by the close of 2022. Additionally, Talison Lithium has doubled its production output during this period, with the inclusion of two new processing plants. This has increased the total number of processing plants to four, and a fifth is currently under development.
Driving toward a greener, cleaner future
Talison Lithium is leading in lithium and has been for more than forty years. In 1983 their Greenbushes Lithium Operation became the first mine in Australia to produce lithium mineral concentrate and since then they have been innovators in this field.
The lithium mineral concentrate that Talison Lithium produces at their Greenbushes Lithium Operation is used in a variety of battery types, most notably as a power source for electric vehicles, including electric bikes, scooters, buses, trucks and passenger vehicles. The reason? Lithium batteries offer higher energy density and lighter weight, when compared to nickel-based options.
For this purpose-driven company, what they do isn't as important as why they do it. "We don’t think of our work in terms of capitalizing on the boom in the lithium industry," said Smith. "It's more about ensuring the reliability of the supply to help the world transition to cleaner energy sources."
Sustainability at work and beyond
It's not just what Talison Lithium produces that is helping to create a more sustainable future—it's also how they work.
Talison Lithium is supplying a significant proportion of critical product for the global transition to clean energy and is also committed to understanding and minimizing their impact on the planet. The company is actively working to make their operations more sustainable, and a crucial component of this effort involves incorporating sustainability thinking into their decision-making processes.
"From how they work to where they work, Talison Lithium cares greatly about the land and their neighboring communities," said Brendan Ellis, senior account manager at FM Global. "They’re committed to sustainable development and thoughtful environmental management and rehabilitation of their sites."
Preparing for the risks of today, and tomorrow
FM Global and Talison Lithium began their partnership in 2009. As the industry and the Greenbushes Lithium Operation have grown, so has their need for additional risk transfer capacity.
Like the majority of FM Global’s client partners, business disruption is not an option for Talison Lithium. From bushfires to climate change concerns—completing risk improvement and planning for the future are key to their success. Even just a few days of shutdown could have a massive effect on the global supply chain, resulting in significant impact for consumers.
“We value our relationship with FM Global because of the engineering and consultative services they provide,” said Smith. “They’ve worked with us to reduce our operational risk exposure, but also to ensure our capital projects are extremely resilient from the ground up. I'm sure that's the reason why we haven't had an incident in that time.”
Going forward, the partners will continue to identify ways to strengthen Talison Lithium’s resilience, especially for their new processing plant, slated to open in 2025.
"Today and into the future, we'll continue to support the success of their business and the value they bring to their communities and the greater world," said Ellis. "We’ll also support their ESG goals by recommending forward-thinking solutions that enable sustainable design, construction and operations."
A greater purpose
Empowering people with the ability to make choices about their impact on the world is essential to Talison Lithium's greater purpose—whether that’s the cars they drive or the source they use to heat or cool their homes. As deeply embedded as the lithium they extract is the passion to nourish and protect the resources that offer so much promise for a more resilient tomorrow.
Company: Talison Lithium
Purpose: Helping to power our net zero future
Headquarters: Perth, Australia
Size: 800+ employees, site operations in Greenbushes, Western Australia
Product development: Lithium
Valued client since 2009